The Man. We’ve all been a pawn in his scheme at some point in time. Victims of the endless profiteering and prisoners beneath the fist of iron. Whether it was suffering through the public school system, the ridiculous gen ed. requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree, insurmountable interest on ill-advised debt or slaving away the best hours of our lives in pursuit of someone else’s dream. We’ve all toiled along the way of ‘The Man.’
It feels like such a waste to toil away in pursuit of someone else’s dream.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the movie “October Sky.” If not, in short, it’s a movie about a coal miner’s son, Homer, who dreams of building rockets and working for NASA. His dad, John, works pretty high up at the coal mine and has dreams of his son taking over for him some day. So, John pressures Homer to work at the mine. There is a teacher who inspires Homer to keep trying and to keep working on his science fair project, Miss Riley. She gives Homer and his friends the help they need to get the job done.
As you can guess, there is tension between John, who has a dream for Homer and Homer who has his own dreams. It’s a tension that many of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It may not have been from a father, but I’m guessing you’ve been pressured by someone along the way to fully commit to something you knew you would never be fully committed to. I have. I’ve spent some time working places that I knew I would never last. For instance, I spent about two weeks working the graveyard shift for UPS. 2:00 am to 6:00am. The hours were hard enough, then to have a manager come and yell at you for not stacking boxes fast enough…well – let’s just say I gave my two weeks notice before I had even worked two weeks.
“The Man” is a real thing for all of us. We don’t want to waste our lives pursuing someone else’s dream. Sure, some of us are more ambitious than others, but even then, we don’t want to be more involved in someone else’s dream than our own. We start to feel trapped. We feel like there is no logical escape. We have a family to feed, bills to pay and a life to live. So we continue to work for “The Man” and allow the best of us to be sucked dry.
This is exactly what happens when we give in to the seductress. Whether literal or figurative, if we give in, we find ourselves giving the best of us to something less than worthwhile. We can see that we don’t want to do that with work, but why do so many of us fall into the trap in so many other ways?
So now, children, listen to me;
do not turn aside from the words I speak.
Keep yourself far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your vigor to others
and your years to a cruel person,
lest strangers devour your strength,
and your labor benefit another man’s house.
And at the end of your life you will groan
when your flesh and your body are wasted away.
I’m not saying we should all quit our jobs. You may be working at your dream job. You may be more mature than me, and are able to find joy in what you do. I applaud you for that. But when it comes to the things Wisdom has and will continue to warn us about, we must choose to save the best of our lives for Wisdom and not Folly. We don’t want to get to the end of our lives and have nothing but to moan and groan because we spent our years chasing Folly. We want to get to the end and celebrate because we spent our lives pursuing Wisdom.