For those of you who spend a good third of your day in a cubicle, or in the corporate baboon cage, you know what I’m talking about when I say there is a certain deadness to this life. Enough concrete, grayness, processed foods, and testing of computer and office furniture ergonomics to drive a man insane. There are moments when it all seems so plastic and fake: the fantasy leagues, the “happy hours”, the joke e-mails that get forwarded, the status meetings, the “how was your weekend” pass-the-time conversations, the water-cooler talks, the hours spent in the commute, the rush to the break room to get the last couple donuts or the leftover birthday cake, etc. etc. Occasionally, I forget to take my heart off my sleeve and everyone turns away until I can put it away again, after all, we’ve got work to do and shareholders to please.
One of the things that struck a chord in me, despite its Western imagery, in the book Wild At Heart, was that notion that there is something in my masculine heart that was deeply unsatisfied with this type of life. Even in my armchair basketball watching and even in my most heated sales or concept meetings, there is a streak in me that longs for that thrill of something outside this air-conditioned, cubicled, and cushioned life.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation…” Thoreau’s words ring true in my ears, although I often don’t know what to do as an Asian Christian male. There is a duty to my wife and my parents, my dog, my friends, and my student loans that I don’t seem strong enough to dare break. After all, what kind of follower of Christ would I be if I did something rash? Much of church seems too tame as well. While they invite into the dangerous life that Christ calls out, I find few examples of men who do just that. Something whispers in me that these guys are just as trapped as I am.
But I wonder what happens to this “wilderness” inside when it goes deferred, even repressed? Will I become like so many Asian fathers that I’ve seen? What will come out of desperate boredom?
I couldn’t help but wonder if this news is a form of entertainment or desperation? I know that it perhaps came out of City Hunter, a manga and a movie now. And I can sense an excitement about it, but for some strange reason, it also saddens me, that in regards to the greatest challenges of living the cutting-edge, no, bleeding-edge Christian life, this is only a distraction, something that seems exciting in lieu of fighting for a wonderful marriage, having the courage to stay in the hope of a healthy church, stalking out the broken and the wounded hearts and killing them softly with love.
I know that there are lots of Asian American engineers, grad students, college students, programmers, accountants, research assistants, attorneys, businessmen, consultants, dentists, doctors, and shop keepers living in quiet and dutiful desperation. You may play these “Street Wars”, but the greatest battle is waging on for your heart. You may stalk your target out of a need for sheer exhillaration, but may you know that there is more than that. That restlessness, that dissatisfaction, that itch indicates that there is something more to this life than your cubicle holds.