Why?

Princess Anne hovercraft (dailymail.co.uk)Photo: Daily Mail

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

Why? Why do we need to know why? We just do. I’d flown to London, leaving behind a half-baked faith in search of a simpler recipe. But each one I’d found—materialism, sensualism, idealism—had failed to rise. So, finally, like the Wise Man (newly ex-Fool) in Ecclesiastes, I’d abandoned every ism. Now what?

I took the hovercraft from Calais. It seemed strange to see the sea refract on the windows and feel the hydroplane hydro-plane. I watched everyone’s drinks fly up in the air in little time-exposure globs of booze as we crashed over each successive wave, looking for the white cliffs of Dover, hoping not to throw up. God, it felt good to be a landlubber again!

It didn’t take long to return to Victoria Station, where the first of my chain of delusions had begun. I’d thought in my desperation that even if I never found out why, I might at least live a colorful Hemingway-life full of happy, delicious despair. But despair was not the thing for me.

And besides, Hemingway killed himself.

For the first time in my life, I’d had to confront the fact that I wasn’t enough, that I was just a hollow brick. And yet I still needed to know why. The real why. Not one of the little ones. I mean, I didn’t need to know why farmers planted grain; they planted it to eat. But why were there farmers? It was that kind of question, and it wouldn’t go away.

Why couldn’t I just exist? I didn’t know, I only knew I couldn’t.

I walked around London all day, trying to recapture the feeling I’d had two weeks ago in my youth. But the problem is that the moment you realize you’re dreaming, you always wake up, and you can never get back to that dream place again. It’s gone forever, along with your innocence in believing…

It was real.

To read the next episode, click here.

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About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Fool's Odyssey, For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Why?

  1. Pingback: Parable of the Bricks | Mitch Teemley

  2. Gary Fultz says:

    I remember running to the end of myself and not being enough…the tough times

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Those why questions plague us. Don’t they. Following our Lord softens that trek, at its heart our response to it.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Every man must come to the end of himself. But you express it so vividly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beth says:

    and that last paragraph is the kicker

    Liked by 2 people

  6. cigarman501 says:

    Great post but I don’t think anyone is a hollow brick.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Warren Womack says:

    Mitch, You are a great writer. I am captured by Fool’s Odyssey. Warren Womack

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jon says:

    These reflections of yours, looking into the important questions, are always worthwhile!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pam Webb says:

    Hydroplanes weren’t a featured epiphany in Ecclesiastes, but your experience emphasizes that we can’t run far enough to get away from ourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Powerfully written! Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love your writings…I felt every emotion! Lord bless you in your continued journey!!

    Liked by 1 person

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