Sunday, May 5, 2013


I have been thinking about this topic since the first time that it was revealed that one of the individuals who is believed to be responsible for the bombing was a college student who otherwise seemed like a reasonable person.  I recall that immediately after he was identified an NPR employee from the Boston area was talking about the fact that he had been to her house for a prom or after-prom party.  He was described by any number of people in any number of ways--charming, charismatic, etc.  People were completely taken by surprise that he could go from being an apparently otherwise normal person in his late teen years to playing a role in bringing about three deaths, injuring over 200 others, and shutting down a metropolitan area for an entire day--April 19 when the hunt was on and the entire area was on lockdown.

Living a compartmental life that is that separated would seem to drive a person crazy.  And yet, when I think about it my own life has its own share of compartmentalization.  I am a husband,  I am a parent.  I am a runner. I am a Sunday school teacher.  I am a worship band musician.  I am an academic administrator.  I am a teacher.  I am a researcher.  

People in one part of my life don't always know people in other parts of my life.  People in one part of my life don't know what I am doing in other parts of my life.  I am the only one who connects it all.

And connecting it all is a non-trivial issue.  There are lots of things that I try to keep in a very tidy order.  There are some things that I try to keep as separated as possible.  Not to hide one compartment from another.  But just so that I can have a clear sense of organization in my life.  There are some things that should be shared across compartments in my life that are not shared when the should be.  Sometimes that is very costly.  Waiting or forgetting to share something can lead to all sorts of conflict.

I am sure that I am perceived differently by people in the different compartments of my life.  Some people see me as the dad who does everything.  My wife sees me as the spouse who doesn't help at some things that she values nearly as much as she would like.

Even the running that took me to Boston is sometimes a source of conflict.  And that is the point at which I find myself confused and disappointed.  Running has become a strong source of my identity. But so is being a husband and a parent and all the other things.  And there are not enough hours in the day to live out all the dreams for all of the compartments in my life.

I wish there were.

But my job is to figure out how to fit the compartments together.  And to fit them together in a way that reflects the priorities that I should have.  Sometimes figuring out what the priorities "should be" is non-trivial because the important people in the different compartments don't agree.  Then, my job as a connector becomes even more important.  And even more challenging.

So, I look at someone like the accused in the Boston case and I wonder how he was able to live a life so compartmentalized and in a way that totally hides from people in one compartment what is going on in another compartment or compartments.

I hope I never have to feel the need to separate and hide the compartments of my life to that degree.

Instead, I hope that the parts of my life can be better integrated and carry me into a happy and well-rounded future together.  And hopefully to find success and fulfillment in them all along with the people in each of the compartments.  

No comments:

Post a Comment