Somewhere, Far Beyond Those Distant Stars. . .
Remember: down means tired! And it’s 3:50 PM!
So I got the novelization of the ST:DS9 episode “Far Beyond the Stars” yesterday and read the whole thing last night, and the author touched upon something that wasn’t really that clear in the TV episode. In it, there is a man named Benny Russell who is a sci-fi writer in the 1950s who ends up writing stories about Deep Space Nine, but can’t get them published because he made the captain a black man. The main plot is a great social commentary, but what I’m mainly concerned about in this post is a subplot involving his girlfriend Cassie (Kasidy Yates in the rest of DS9), who waitresses at a greasy spoon and wants to buy the place, marry Benny, and settle down. In the book, the author spends a bit of time talking about Benny Russell’s calling and/or purpose in life, and how he can’t propose to Cassie and settle down because he’s a writer. He is willing to starve for his work, but he is not willing to ask Cassie to do the same. But at the same time, he knows he will never be happy just running a restaurant and a family; his “muse” won’t let him. He was given a great talent: a talent to create fantastical worlds that people can read about and believe in, and to become a restaurant manager would be like spitting in the face of the one who gave him that gift. Thus he becomes an unhappy person (at least until he finally sells his DS9 story and therefore can have his cake and eat it too, as the old saying that doesn’t really make sense goes). Anyone see where I’m going with this yet?
I explained two entries ago why I sometimes sabotage my relationships. I’m not proud of that entry, but it’s there. However, I thought of something else, something that I’ve actually pondered but not written down until this book reminded me of it. A Media Music major such as myself does not have a lot of lucrative prospects waiting for him when he graduates. Very few of them end up making any money from their degree; even less can support a family based solely off their musical expertise. I don’t want anyone to marry me whom I can’t support. I don’t want to raise a family in constant fear of where the next paycheck will come from. I don’t want to force my wife to work because I don’t bring home enough money to cover the bills. My future family is very important to me, and I want to be able to provide for them.
Yet, at the same time, I have been given some great talents in music. Not only do I possess perfect pitch, I also have written a lot of songs and musical works, most of which have been met with praise, and I innately understand a lot of musical concepts that many people have to study for years in order to come to the same level of understanding. In short, in the field of music, I have been given five talents (in reference to the parable). I say this not to be cocky or self-aggrandizing, but to say how grateful I am for these gifts. But, as is the catchphrase of old Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility. With these great musical gifts comes the responsibility to share them with the world, and to try to improve others’ lives through the things I write. A long time back I was involved with a Leadership conference, and as part of the conference we were asked to write down a one-sentence goal to guide our lives, aside from the obvious spiritual ones. Mine ended up being “I want to help other people feel how I’d like to feel.” While perhaps a bit cryptic and vague, I still firmly believe in that, and the best way to do so is to use the talents I have been given.
Thus my dilemma. I know I can share myself with the world through music, yet at the same time I know I need to support a family. It’s quite hard to do both, and that’s one reason I find it hard to sustain successful relationships with girls. I don’t want to give girls the chance to fall in love with me and thus risk having to live a subsistent life. My mother had to do that, as have several other members of my extended family, and the toll that takes on the family bond can be too much at times.
I guess my comfort can come from 1 Nephi 3:7, that famous scripture that says, in part, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” If the Lord has given me these talents, surely He will find a way to allow me to righteously exercise them to improve the world, while at the same time raising a family of my own.
Keep praying for me, guys! I know I am!