I have quoted Auden so often, most frequently his pithy little reminder that “We wage the war we are.” I know this is shocking to you who think I am a regular “Ozzie” of “Ozzie and Harriet” fame, but I like that notion because I am one hell of a battlefield! I always have been but have spent most of my life trying to avoid this internal battlefield but now I’m getting kind of brazen and appear to be telling the gods, “Ok, bring it on! Let’s see what you got. Hit me with your best shot!” My attitude is, “Well, might as well. Whatever is there is there and if we aren’t aware of it, it is living us, leaving us with the pathetic lot of being “the toy of some great pain.”
Here is a thought by Vincent Van Gogh who waged a similar battle, revealing his determination to toil onward with his life, to “keep going, keep going come what may” without any real guess as to where it may lead.
I must continue to follow the path I take now. If I do nothing, if I study nothing, if I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it — keep going, keep going come what may. But what is your final goal, you may ask. That goal will become clearer, will emerge slowly but surely, much as the rough draught turns into a sketch, and the sketch into a painting through the serious work done on it, through the elaboration of the original vague idea and through the consolidation of the first fleeting and passing thought.” (Recently posted in WP blog, “Finding God in 365 Days.”)
And then the haunting, grim observation of the always haunting and grim T. S. Eliot,
And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment.
(From “Little Gidding” in “The Four Quartets”)