Edward Yellow is back in Philadelphia, in the spacious country house his parents bought in the early fall. After the tumult of New York City, the disappointing setbacks, the nervous walks down crowded avenues, the sad narrow room where he slept and studied, Edward is glad to be here, with the strong pillars of humanity that created him, that love him, that respect him. He is happy to be here in his own room, a place of his own, finally. He has unpacked his books, and surrounded by them, he feels a certain contentness he has not felt in a long while — fetish objects against the loneliness, maybe, or magic receptacles of thoughts and ideas that can stir the waters of his mind on gray days.
He is dirty. He has not bathed himself in a day and a half. It cannot wait much longer, but he holds off, strong still in the state of himself, relishing the rest that comes after many battles.
The future is no brighter than it was a day ago. He still has no job for the summer and a head full of uncertainties — the unknown judgments of all the corporate lawyers who had sat across from him and found him not good enough — he is not a lawyer, they thought. Good, maybe they thought, but not better than — Edward wonders how much of it is his own reticence to go back to the officeworld of commerce and timeshares and money — something sterile about those fluorescent lights and large windows and beautiful views of the city –
Perhaps it would not be so terrible, to work late in one of those offices, if only for the views.
On the other hand, juniors probably just stare at the building across the street, looking in at the similarly-situated also toiling for someone else’s money.
One must be superior in one’s own sphere, Edward thinks. How is this superior? How will it make me my own man? A savings account?
To touch the very skeins of society, and tug on them and make them dance. To plunge headfirst into the superstructure and bang out a tune on the steel rods of the law — these options might be open to him — he does not always pass the straight-face test — they think him a dabbler or a dilettante, or the truth, a liar, hungry only for the money that will grant him freedom —
That’s one way to get freedom sure. The other way — be willing to starve, be willing to wait –
Learn to wait, says Rabbi Nachman of Breslov across the quiet centuries, if despite all your determined efforts you cannot seem to reach your goals, be patient. Between acceptance and anxiety, choose acceptance.