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Sunday, October 19, 2003

Today I saw the play "Waiting for Godot" with my son. I last read it in high school, but didn't remember too much about it.
There is no plot - two men, Estragon and Vladimir, for two days wait for Godot, who never shows up. There are a couple of interruptions, but really nothing happens. They talk, they eat a carrot, they find something to pass the time, they seize any distraction, but really, they have no purpose, no hope, and are miserable. (A recurrent idea they have to pass the time is "let's hang ourselves")
Unless Godot shows up, there is no rhyme or reason or safety. At the end of the first day, a boy shows up to tell them that Godot will not come today, but surely tomorrow. The next day, he shows up again - and tells them Godot will not come today, but surely tomorrow...and he doesn't remember having met them before, making Vladimir question his own existence (Estragon doesn't remember anything anyways, he exists purely in the now, in his present needs). And it looks like Godot will never come, and they are doomed to spend their life waiting.........

My son pronounced the play "whacked" :-) But he got the basic absurdity of their plight....
Funny, and heart breaking at the same time....

Anyways, it got me thinking (just loosely connected to the play..) about Eric's comment about heaven being the destination, not the goal.......about the tendency to pray the prayer, and after that just sit and wait for heaven to come, biding time.....
That leaves our lives here on earth purposeless - nothing but empty space between the end of the sentence and the period. I remember some "testimony" type books I read when I first became a believer, and how they spent 80 percent of the book on how bad the person was before conversion, 15% percent on how they started believing, and 5% on how they lived happily ever after the prayer.....
I remember thinking how I wanted to know what happened afterwards - how hard was it to change? Did they grow, learn, teach others, get taught? Did God really use them? What does the story look like from that point on?
But in the eyes of the authors, that wasn't important - the important part was the conversion, and after that, empty space......
Shouldn't it be the other way around - 80% of the book on what happened afterwards? Shouldn't the point of saying "yes" be the beginning of the story, instead of the end of it?

posted by Birgit
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