Do you really have to do this?

This question comes at me every day, an accusation on constant repeat.

Do you really have to do this?

I feel the reluctance. I feel the hostility. I feel the privilege, the delusion, the artificiality behind my strivings. All too often I must admit, I am defeated by it.

I don’t really have to do anything if it’s inessential. Not if the kids are crying or need attention, not if something else is more pressing, not if the deadline isn’t firm, or worse: it’s a self-imposed goal.

Do you really have to do this?

I must admit, a “yes” answer can always be picked apart, persuaded, teased, twisted, turned into a “no”.

What is it then that I really have to do?

If nothing, then nothing. Nothingness comes. The cold, dark void choking out the warmth, everything starts loosening, losing form, falling away, disappearing.

Yet, I sense that this is just a quickening of Nature’s process which does not have to begin now, not prematurely on my living flesh, and does not actually require any help—not from you, not from me. This disappearance may be unavoidable, inevitable, but alone it’s a waste, a void in and of it itself, empty of reason.

But there is a quickening in another sense, that of a new beginning: a mother’s awareness of the tenuous new life she holds.

Better to lose yourself in creation. Better to allow yourself to disappear into brilliant sunrises and sunsets, the open expanse and warm enclosure of your beloved, the intangibilities of a fine painting, the unutterable spaces of a good novel, a song that wounds and stills the pain, a work that seems to live and breathe on its own, or to breathe new life into living. Better to lose yourself in the hours, days, months, years trying to capture a world—in all its ugliness, in all its beauty—distinct to you and you alone.

Even when your shadow may obscure some light briefly, your existence gives form to the vast glimmering immensity. Better to die holding up the vault than pushing down the stars.


Text and images by M.P. Baecker.

7 thoughts on “Born of Disappearance

  1. This is beautiful, and so in sync with what I’ve been feeling, what I wrote about yesterday! The line I feel got lost in the text of my entry was the question no one yet answered (you did here tho!):

    “Do you waste days, like I feel I do, in complacency or apathy or even in the furious pursuit of nothing in particular? Are those days necessary?”

    And then the next line that validates the ask:

    “Honestly, they might be.”

    “They are!” I thought I’d hear in response, “Oh Tom, those days are the most necessary of all!!”

    Because they are. What fulfills us isn’t necessarily what we have to do, I tried to illustrate. I have to go to work, clean the house, mow the yard, walk the dogs. I must. Those are without compromise. Whether I want to or don’t want to I still have to.

    I don’t have to write.

    I don’t have to read.

    I don’t have to play the newly downloaded Madden ’19 Franchise Mode. 😉

    But I will. I will read. I will write. I will play!

    Because I can. Because I WANT to. Because the best person I can be isn’t just the duty-bound one, it is also the happy one, the crazy one, the idle one. The complete one. I will do what I must when I must. The rest of it, though, I’ll do what I feel. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautiful comment Tom! I love what you wrote: “What fulfills us isn’t necessarily what we have to do”. I think we are so incredibly lucky, even if it honestly doesn’t feel that way (as I can attest), to have the choice, the means, and the time to choose what we “want” to do, and not just one but several passions! But without them life would be unfulfilling! Let us pour ourselves into the task, be it work, be it play, that which intrigues us!

      Liked by 1 person

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