Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Futility Room


About thirty years ago the Futility Room was first introduced to me by the late James Dick.


In spring 1985 Kie and I visited Mr. Dick at his new home near Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, and he gave us the grand tour. We came to the doorway of one room that he called the Futility Room, which was actually the laundry room; he had moved his exercise bicycle and equipment in there. This said, I was never certain if he gave the room that name because there is always one more piece of laundry to be done or if the time spent on a treadmill or exercise bicycle never took him anywhere.

In retrospect, I think we all have a Futility Room; it's that place where we spend countless hours doing activities that really do not take us anywhere but we persist in doing those activities nonetheless. We know this already... but buried inside us is that innate drive to keep going.

My father spent many years on his stamp collection; he had taken over the collection after his father had passed away. From the occasional comment he made through the years, my father was always hoping one of us (his children) would take over and continue the collection. My father's wish has not been fulfilled and is not likely to be.

But don't be sad if you reading this post!

I too persist in a similar way but with a completely unrelated activity, and I have been for several decades. I write these pages that have become several volumes, hoping that one day in the future after I am gone someone may actually read them.

These pages record various scenes from my journey through life and admitted struggles with my faith and beliefs, but the cold hard reality that I know already is that no one will be interested. I clearly know this but I continue writing anyway. Now you understand the futility part.

Let's face it!

No one cares what the weather may have been on April 3, 2002... even I don't care, but I may have recorded it on that date.

The old people I have briefly written about are forgotten strangers who are long gone as I too shall be one day. But I persist in writing about them anyway... perhaps because as I look back at the lives and influences of those older people, those earlier generations of my family, I discover that I don't know much about them. They were a part of my early life in their special ways but sadly I realize I do not know much about them. They did not write things down for those of us following to read about later. 

Buried in bits within these pages, I have recorded vignettes of family history that are, admittedly, very limited; and for two reasons. First, because of limited details and second, because of my failures to have listened attentively years ago coupled with my own fading memories of today. Trust me: the unbelievably unforgettable does become unbelievably faded and then forgotten over time, maybe even within our own lifetime; I really hate to admit this.

"For of the wise man as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing in that the days to come all will have become long forgotten. How the wise man dies just like the fool!"
(Ecclesiastes 2:16)

Who we are and what we have done is never intended to endure here on earth.

Knowing this and for whatever reason, the Futility Room does seem to offer some degree of comfort.

"For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart."
(Ecclesiastes 5:20)

Keep pedalling anyway!!


The Oddblock Station Agent



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