I attended the wonderful Druid version of the great Beckett play “Waiting for Godot” at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin recently. It was so damned good that tears streamed my face at the end. But all I am left with now is the feeling that what was said in the play applies equally well in my own life – that I also am waiting for my own Godot with all of the trials and tribulations that this involves. But why should I bother to do this?
I’m reading now from the play, when Vladimir makes the telling statement “Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot? But in all that, what truth will there be?” What I learned from the play that sometimes, no matter how good our effort, no matter how much commitment we give, no matter how many of the recommendations from pop-psychology we faithfully and courageously implement, that our sole reward when we wake up the next morning may only be to have the opportunity to do again what we did yesterday. And to accept the deafening possibility that there is no necessary link between the effort we put into something and the result that emerges.
I am in the middle of having such an existential experience at the moment. I have a number of initiatives underway, each of which is giving me a Godot moment. For example, I have an ad campaign underway on Facebook which has generated a range of activity but with no end-result of an inquiry. I wonder what is going on in people’s minds, I wonder what else I might have done to generate a better result. I have, in another area, given a very generous commitment to an initiative only to discover that this is more than is required and even offering a lesser commitment may not be sufficient to ‘land the fish’. And the only thing I can say, as the characters say in the play, that I woke up today and I am still waiting for Godot.
My conclusion on all of this is that I am hopeful of attaining a dignified position in the middle of all of this, seemingly, nothingness. That I give of my best and can look at myself and know, in response to Vladimir’s ‘s question, this to be true. What else can be done? I return to another phrase that our hero offers in the play: “At this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!” So, I return now to the trenches, and I will make the most of it. To make the best choice out of the alternatives that face me and conclude, as Vladmir does, most courageously: “What we are doing here, that is the question..in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come”.