From Innocence to Contempt in 1 Lifetime
  

From Innocence to Contempt in 1 Lifetime

Inspiration Eli’s Song “Things I Pray For”

Intro

Life is a culmination of seasons and phases, and because of this we face change on a daily basis.  One thing that is universally the same is that we are born into this world with nothing and ultimately leave with nothing.  The under lying theme of our young lives is an innocence so pure and encompassing that it covers our early years like a dew covering the cool crisp grass in the early morning.   In the end our lives fade into the glorious sunset of forever with wisdom blowing past our backs like a gentle breeze, filling our sails and slowly yet steadily pushing us on.  In between these two wonderful stages is where our lives are lived, it is the Mondays and the Tuesdays that make up our lives.  It is these days that flow like a stream, melding into a continuous memory that slowly weaves itself into the tapestry of history. 

We as humans can barely understand why things happen on a day to day basis, nor can we even begin to comprehend the awesomeness of this universe or the rules that govern it.  So we live our lives and segment them into easy to recall eras like childhood, adolescence, adulthood, retirement, and passing.  Yet we forget the journey was a seamless dance with time and it never had intermissions nor did it ever stop for song changes.  The dance with destiny takes many moods and forms but it is continuous and unrelenting, like a cloud blowing over the landscape. 

Life runs some people over and they wake up one morning and they are 50 or 60.  Numbers that were once too great for them to fathom are now the markers of their age.  The numbers are no more scary or sobering than the fact that their dreams have faded with their youth, leaving them a shell of what they once hoped they could be. 

Some people controlled their life and ambitiously tackled it.  They played the game and step by step kept up with time, but slowly their strength and resolve turned into a religious zeal that destroyed more than it created.  They will eventual end up laying down their heads in their final freshly made bed, and will find themselves staring at the ceiling wondering how they lost their life to the rat race they ran so well.  It will dawn on them that their life was spent chasing empty hands and empty wishes.  Oh how far their goals were from what their hearts truly longed for. 

There are the rare few that make it to the end of their life with no regret.  How is it done?  They understand that life has a lot more in common with death that most think.  They understand that life is a path and death is a destination, but life’s path is not marked by the goals that have been ambitiously achieved, nor by the season of life completed.  Life could be over at 20 or 100, but the same truth is evident, in life’s journey you will travel by days and moments that will only be past once and never again.  It is not a physical journey that shapes our destinies; it is a path through time. They realize that today is the day they have been given and tomorrow will come, and yesterday is already spent. 

These days and months role in on you like the waves on the ocean only stopping for the shore.  One wave, one day, after the next, in perpetuity until the shore gently breaks their crests and they role over, ever so softly back into the sea just is time for the next wave to come rolling in.  It is because life is so unrelenting that most get lost in its rhythm.  They live out each day with little thought to consequence or priority.  It is for this reason that we must know beyond the shadow of a doubt which way is west and which way is east.  What are your hearts goals?  What are your pure and true dreams?  Most importantly what are your priorities?  Precedence and foresight must join together or our road will become faint and our destination disoriented.

What of those who are just starting their journey?  What of those who are coming to the end of theirs?  How do we learn from others which way we should go?  As it is with most things, it is best to start at the beginning.

 

Childhood The Genesis Account

Children are constantly called the future, and yet many forget that they are part of the present.  The idea that they are the future implies that they have nothing to teach or offer us today, and this could not be further from the truth.  Children have an innocence about them that inspires faithful obedience and unshakable passion.  Yet few of us stop to reflect on our own childhood experiences.  How did we start out?  How did we once view the world?  And how has our understanding about the world, ourselves, and others changed since then? 

Sometimes I find myself reflecting on my childhood, usually it is when I am overcome by melancholy.  The era of innocence was so pure and simple.  We knew enough to get by and have fun, yet our Utopias stayed in tacked, if only for the moment.  As a child I had no idea about responsibility, jobs, marital problems, bankruptcy, or drama.  My world was completely removed from the real world, mentally and emotionally, and such evils could not even be conceived by my popsicle lollypop addicted mind.    I once lived in a place of unfettered emotions with petty yet amazingly black and white rules.  My cares were very small in comparison to my now more “grown up” worries, and many people view that simplicity as ignorance, “they just don’t know any better.”  I can remember when the three big sins were disobeying your parents, swearing, and stealing.  Other than those three I had no idea what humans were capable of, I did not know of the atrocities of this or any other age.  As children we did not strive to become rich and well to do, nor did we play political games to try and get ahead of the pack.  We did not worry of the implications of every single little decision; we lived here and now only worrying about our likes and dislikes.  We lived in a state of absolute innocence.  There was nothing in this world that could corrupt our little hearts. 

We in America under value innocence.   I don’t think that we truly understand the benefits of this state of mind.  We think ignorantly that knowledge is power, but faith is power, knowledge puffs us up just before it violently tears us down.  Innocence is the mental atmosphere in which faith can thrive.  Innocence inspires curiosity and awe.  Innocence makes everything the first time, and because of that everything is perfect, like a virgin snowfall.  If innocence exists than anything can be possible, there is nothing that can stand in the way.  This was only a season of our lives though, and we thought that it would last forever; after all we did not know anything else.  We had no clue there was any other way to view the world. 

As our childhoods drew to an end we did not realize that we stood at the pinnacle of our young lives, and our La La Lands were in jeopardy.   Yet, no matter which way you look at it, our Utopias never existed at all, and slowly we started into a new season that would completely revolutionize our lives.  The night was coming to snuff out the joy that we knew.  Our innocence would soon slip from us and in return we would have understanding; the killer of childhood dreams.

 

Adolescence The Storm Rolls In

We cannot stop time and like a train our lives continued down the path that God had already prepared for us.  As we started into adolescence we had no idea what was about to happen to us.  We had no clue of the darkness that we were about to enter and how it would ravage our precious little worlds.  With child like innocence we started our journey into understanding, and eventually through this process of acquiring knowledge, we would become adults. 

I can remember when my bubble started to burst.  I was eleven and my friends were joking around about sex.  I had no idea what they were talking about, but something deep inside tightened up, as if my gut knew of what my mind was completely unaware.  A couple of months later sex education confirmed all they had said, and at that moment my world began its furious tail spin.  Soon Jr. High and High School politics, sexual perversions, and locker room beat up sessions where daily aggravations on my once tender heart.  It was like in a flash my world had been nuked and I stood at the epicenter of the explosion.  I looked out into the desolation, and as far as the eye could see was chaos, murder, maliciousness, hate, and selfish gain.  My innocence was a sham and soon I found it was a security blanket that was put over me since I was a baby.  It had protected me until this point, and now I was the sole survivor of my once serene Utopia, my world was gone.  All the candy stores, toy lands and Chucky Chesses where replaced by liquor stores, whore houses, and gun shops.  Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny where now seen for the charlatans they really were, worthless impostors created to evoke a false sense of joy and hope, but now they were dead and an unquenchable void was now in their place.  The things that once brought me endless hours of pleasure and satisfaction now left a dirty taste in my mouth.  My world was an imaginary fraud that kept me entertained as everything I knew and loved was slowly destroyed right before me.  I now lived in a dog eat dog world where only the tough survive.

The thing is, I was not the only survivor of this Utopia.  We all had to go through the deaths of our childhoods.  All of us, at some point in our lives saw our hopes and dreams lying limp in our arms.  Some people went through this transformation when they were just six, and their mother was crying in the kitchen again.  How long would their father abuse their family?  The answer to that question was tonight, mom was going to make sure he never hurt them ever again.  Yet others grew up with very protective parents that were able to shelter them until they were 15.  Eventually though the night found them and they watched a little part of them die and fall to the side of the road never to be seen again. 

Regardless of how or when, it happened, our old world was gone and in its place a form of how it once was.  This new enemy was stronger than any of us innocent children could have ever fought with our toy guns.  Our doll houses would have only hid us for so long, and no 15 speed bike could have out ran the storm.  The darkness was more than any of could stand, even today the weight gets unbearable at times.  Yet the real world was not the thing that was most responsible for the way things had become.  The real world had always been around us, no it was the revelation of reality that ultimately cast the final stone.  Our innocence slowly turned into understanding and we began to see what human nature was and what it was capable of. 

As we went through our sexual awakening we saw the possibilities that lay in front of us.  Sex, drugs, popularity, and money all became bigger parts of our lives.  Now we saw the truth, we were never living in our Candy Lands; our Candy Lands were a misleading mirage of a world ruled by death and selfishness.  It was a pacifier that kept us entertained as chaos slowly strangled our innocence in our cribs.  As our bubbles popped and our worlds collapsed we were now surrounded by evil, it was everywhere.  The night was so dark and cold.  Alone and shocked we stood looking at this desolate world.

Just as no man can ever turn back time, so to can no one ever return to their La La land of yesterday.  As we came to our mid adolescence we were faced with a sub conscience choice.  As enlightenment slowly took hold of our lives we all tended to deal with it differently.  We all had to reconcile our childhood to our adulthood.  1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”   We had three paths that we could take, and this inevitable choice would shape our young adult lives. 

Some embrace this new evil with open arms; after all it felt kind of good to experience a few of these new actions.  You embraced this new evil with zeal.  What kinds of new things were there to experience?   This new world had so many possibilities.  You were happy to be out of the old way of self-deceit.  Yet after awhile the things that once brought you joy soon left a void.  At first you chose when you got high, drank, got angry, or had sex, but now you had these cravings that ruled your every breathe, your very soul.  Soon you were a slave to the things that once served you.  It was a trap; all these things were just death in a pretty box.  The fall of your innocence came swift, the night descended on you without a fight, and now its weight was too much for you.  Your once light world was now dark and you were alone, like a pathetic puppet on a string.  Your innocence was now a vision far removed from your current reality.

Others tried to join both worlds together by forming little clicks and fan clubs.  You saw this new world all around you and you saw a few things that caught your attention, but you were still scared of some of the evils that were creeping up on you, like a predator in the bush.  After all your fresh childhood innocence was still appealing to you too.  You used the care free times of yesterday to mask the evil that you were now in the midst of.  You thought that if you could grab the best parts of both worlds you could invent a new world.  You drank at parties but it was just like on the playground it was just to have fun, “you know just to lighten up a bit.”  You played High school games creating clicks and political environments around you that felt like elementary school.  It had a dash of deceit, a hint of gossip, and a touch slander yet a tinge of infatuation and anticipation.  You had sex but it was with your girlfriend, it wasn’t like you were sleeping around.  You tried so hard to bring your childhood into this new place, like a wearing your second grade clothes even though they were to small, but slowly the real world was winning out.  This was your new reality, and there was no denying it, this new world swallowed you whole and spit out your innocence into a pile of bleached bones. The world seemed darker than used to be, and the sun seemed dimmer, candy was not as sweet.  The masks were all gone and you were seen for the sad lonely child you really were.

The last path was the path less traveled; this was the highway that I took.  You may have grown up with parents that pushed morality on you, or maybe it was a choice to take upon yourself high moral character.  You may have been taught of Adam and Eve’s sin and the implications that fell on you as their descendent.  You saw the truth and knew of the darkness that was falling all around you.  You hated the darkness so much, and you hid from it and you denied its power over your life.  Yet it seemed that no matter how you tried to live by your convictions, you always did the one thing that you hated most.  You struggled and fought against the night but it was of no avail.  You were crushed to find that the darkness was not an entity that was over you or around you; it was inside you like a parasite.  The evil that you were so desperately trying to defeat was part of your mind and heart.  You found that the destruction of the night would require the death of everything that you truly were.  No matter how you struggled slowly but surely you got used to the night and allowed more and more of the darkness in your life.  One day you looked at your life and the zeal that once ruled your life was now contempt and apathy.  When had you fallen so far from your moral background?  How did this all come to be?  And just as fending off the night with a cross in hand, you were engulfed by the darkness that you struggled against.  It was futile.

 

Adulthood The End Is Near

No matter which path you took the eventual result of you adolescence was you became used to the darkness that is the actual world.  You are no longer aware of the evil that goes on around you on a daily basis.  The clouds rolled in and you got used to the rain.  You have become so used to this world and all that it has to offer and all that it takes away.  You have become used to your little piece of night that is allowed to live in your life, and nothing that you could ever do could make it go away.  It is a part of you now, this world of yours, and you are a part of it.  Like two very different metals are forged together with heat and hammer, so too you and this existence and you have been smashed together on the anvil of time. 

Every once and awhile you see the sun and go through a brief struggle for the light, but every time the darkness drags you further beneath its waves.  It is not that God cannot free us, or that these chains are impossible to shake.  It is just that truth seems shrouded in mystery, and the surface is fluid and moves on us.  Just as we are about to come up for breath, we realize that we have swam in the wrong direction again.  The things like God, family, friends, happiness, and truth all seem to slip into ambiguity and are less defined than they once were. 

What is the point of struggling with our sins, they always win?  With this train of thought we all eventually reach the point were we fully understand that no matter what we do we will never be better than we are today.  Life will always have this sting of emptiness.  We all seem to let our doubts and fears win, after all this world destroyed the last ruminants of our virtue and aspiration long ago.  We are now forced to face this empty temporal world with the knowledge of our sinful nature and our continual failure. 

This sin nature draws its power from our contempt for it and from our knowledge of its existence.  Our evil sometimes spills out of us in a moment of absolute weakness and it pools together with the evil spilling from others.  Our darkness pools and spawns new environments for evil to exist.  The whole time part of us wants to fight against our sinful nature, yet it is the recognition of this sin that allows it a place to survive.  Ignoring it will not make it go away any more than focusing on it will. 

We are fools, because the things that we think brings us strength, is actually our kryptonite.  We know the truth, we have seen the light, we have the answers, but how can we have the answers if we don’t ask the right questions?  What is your biggest downfall?  How does that question help you?  If God is love than we are all hate.  If Jesus is the Truth than we are all lies.  If the Father is justice than we are all cheats.  The fact is we are not who we are or who we think we are.  We spend our whole lives living in between what we want to be and what we hate.  It is for this reason that children can teach us and the simple minded can show us the way.  It is not our way that will finally rid us of our transgression, nor is the understanding of our weakness that will win the fight.  Our ways are based in evil and stupidity.  The question should always be, who is God?  What is truth?  Are we all given a purpose, and if so what is mine?  What do I want my story to be?  How do I want my legacy to be remembered?  If this is your focus, the other things have away of working themselves out.

It seems that this life will always keep rolling, and the years will go by without our consent.  When we reach the end of our lives will we be full of regret and dreams long past, or will we pass in God’s perfect time knowing that this life was spent with perfection.  Each stage of our life has a different struggle and thus require different prayers.  A few things that each stage of every life requires is each others help to run the race in such away as to win the prize, God’s constant supervision, and remembering where we have been and where we are going.  This world gets the best of us all and we all go through times of uncertainty and pain but it is how we live this life of ours that we will take from it.  Life is a culmination of seasons and phases and one question remains.  Is your innocent Utopia lost or are you?

Written By: Josh Wilmot


Comments:
 
AshesofLilith   AshesofLilith wrote
on 5/9/2008 6:45:45 PM
Amazing! You speak of my talent but you over-look your understanding of human nature. Brilliant, Josh. Good God!

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Philip Wylie - “Ignorance is not bliss — it is oblivion.”
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Synopsis
A essay format writing about this trip we call life.
A Word from the Writer
The religious under tones are based off of my experience from being raised in a religious family. What I label as God some may place the word Fate. The idea is a universal need of man to acknowledge something that is bigger than themselves.
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