While I was peacefully enjoying dinner, finishing reading a couple of books, and relaxing a little bit after a long week where I ended up working 44 hours despite having not been at work the first day of the work week because of religious observance, and a long day where after work I had run a few errands including getting a few bottles of Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider for the shut in baskets and picking up a new laptop, I was asked by a friend what was on my mind. This is a safe question to ask only if one wants a long answer, and given that I only had my cell phone to use for typing, a long answer simply will not do when one is typing so inefficiently. Of course, the question was well asked if someone wanted a long answer. And if someone genuinely wants to talk with me, they will generally want or enjoy the long conversations and the long and complicated answers because to answer what is on my mind is something that truly requires a good deal of time in order to address the matter fully, even to understand it in my own mind.
For the last few days my thoughts have been directed at least partly at the state of Florida and the area around it. I grew up in Central Florida, after all, and it seemed that during my time there that the state was and remains a bit of a magnet for hurricanes, Particularly, right now the state is being threatened by Hurricane Matthew, which may have its name retired after this year given its ferocity already. In looking at the path and timing of this hurricane, I am reminded of 2004. During that year Florida was hit by 4 hurricanes, the last of them Hurricane Jeanne, which first raced along the coast and then looped around and entered Florida around Fort Lauderdale and then came up central Florida and knocked out power in Tampa for several days right after the Day of Atonement. I remember that feast because I had to race to eat before Atonement after gathering the things that were likely to fly around in the wind after my parents had gone off on their usual pre-Feast of Tabernacles explorations. The power was out until the Feast and I was unable to do my laundry before traveling to France myself, which required me to pack mostly dirty clothes and then do the laundry there. I remember that feast rather fondly, for a variety of reasons, among them that it was my last Feast in Europe until this year. Some of my family happens to be in harm’s way from the hurricane, and hopefully they make it out alright.
Of course the Feast is heavily on my mind. There is still seemingly so much to do in so little time. I still have to arrange the bus ride back to Tallinn after the 8th Day and finish writing my split sermon and practice for the special music I have, all of which takes a fair amount of time, and much has to be printed out as well. It seems that the bad thing about being a Swiss army knife in life  is being asked to do too many things because one can do many things. This happens all the time–at work, I watch phone queues while doing reports, some of them regular and some of them ad hoc reports based on what is going on, and a lot of that happened this week and is likely to happen for the next few months, which can be pretty exhausting. The same is true in other areas of life, where having a wide variety of skills and interests means a wide variety of tasks that need to be done where few people show themselves willing to do them. The same flexible people end up doing everything.
And that is the way this world works. We speak of the problem of evil being so great, but the bigger part of what makes the world fail so hard is that so few people do anything of value whatsoever. Much of our behavior in a world as unpleasant as this one is designed to escape, and so many people do not do anything except for try to find some means of escape. They shop too much, seek too much entertainment, drink or do drugs, and the like, all because the imperative of escaping life is far more appealing than the more difficult task of becoming better equipped to deal with life. It is unfortunate that this should be the case, but that is what we find over and over and over again. It is unclear why this should be the case, but the fact that it is easy to find entertainment and far more difficult to engage in self-development is likely a big part of the reason why. We like easy and quick and simple answers, and as a result we are consistently led astray by the same impulses over and over again. So much of life is futile because the right lessons are not learned, and because by the time that people realize what could have been done in the past it is far too late in their minds to do what still could be done, if one only had the will to do so.
 See, for example: