The young man stood on my doorstep explaining that I needed to see the world in the same way he envisioned it.  I invited him inside, away from the hot, humid afternoon air.  He thanked me, saying that he’d been going door to door all day, but I was the first person to invite him in.  He only accepted an ice water from me to quench his thirst.  He said he was a college sophomore at the University of Nebraska in Kearney.  He was spending his summer break at home here in Norfolk. 

Out of his backpack, he brought out his Christian pamphlets and Bible.  He was recruiting people to his religion.  The young man seemed very self-confident.  His presentation was very polished and utilized the latest techniques of persuasion and emotional appeals.

The young man went on about how his co-religionists picture the ideal world.  In that world, everybody was a Christian, just like him and his fellow true believers.  It was a moving speech that described absolute, total perfection and complete love under the glory and submission to his Lord.  The fellow went on to describe, in minute detail, the delights and wonders of heaven.  Then he asked, “Are you saved”?

I replied that I probably wasn’t “saved” in the manner to which he believed I should be, but that I was happy and content with my “spiritual well-being”.  I told him that I hoped he would respect my concept of inner life in the same way as he would respect that of a fellow member of his own church.

The young man politely smiled and read a passage from his Bible, then recited a prayer.  After a few minutes of pleasant small-talk, the young man left my little house.

I grinned to myself as I recalled my own youthful days and that fiery idealism that I espoused.  My religionism had become so strong that I had alienated my fellow car-pool riders.  One of the guys took me aside and told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was entitled to my version of Jesus,  but to please stop proselytizing. 

I was thankful for the reminder that my car pool comprised of a Roman Catholic, a fellow New Ager, and an atheist. I deeply cared for all three of them, they were real pals.  I saw my youthful boorishness for what it was.  I was able to relax and just enjoy our time together each day on the freeway.

I think there is a fair degree of uncertainty and insecurity that manifests most strongly in young people.  They see an unsettled, violent, unfair world all around.  Many times they become attracted to a political or religious organization that promises to set things right.  An ideal world will dawn, if only they can convince everybody to believe as they do.  I don’t think this is a contemporary development.

There is no “one way” to experience and to view life.  The young proselytizer’s wistful description of his heaven, sounded entirely the way I used to visualize hell. I can’t imagine being caught in a place like that for all of infinite time and space with no hope of release.  His version of worshipful paradise seems screamingly boring to me.

I think it is impossible to remain in a fixed state around some sort of ideal.  Our ideas of ideal shift and adjust as we get older.  Sometimes, we finally come to the conclusion that ideals aren’t really all that good for us, or for others.  I think of how my idea of joy and contentment would be a nightmare of ambiguity and insecurity for the youthful recruiter who appeared on my doorstep.  Just as his idea of solidity and dogmatism seems horrid to me.

Ideals are just static, lifeless concepts.  Reality is fluid, flexible, and alive.  Ideals are great to contemplate.  I should hope that whenever someone decides to conform to an ideal, that he or she remembers ethics, kindness and compassion when doing so.  I hope they remember that even the most rigid ideals have managed to slowly change form throughout the ages. 

Perhaps we need to ease away from rigidity and enter the ever-changing stream of life.  Is that an ideal or, is it a dynamic hope? 


The Blue Jay of Happiness thinks, in reality, there is no one-size fits all, ideal view of how our world should be.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Hometown, Youth and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.