Have you ever wondered if we are the oh so serious offspring of an imaginative, adventurous, and humorous maker. What if Chris Rock were your father but you didn’t get any of his jokes.
Suppose he left you a pink slip that meant you’re now unemployed. You spend five minutes stuffing your belongings in a box and saying goodbye then beating the pavement and yourself up until you reach home. This experience robs you of the one thing every human is entitled to—- your dignity.
You take the freeway home and announce to your significant other that you are now jobless and that severe belt tightening will quickly ensue. After a week of making secret arrangements, your duo becomes a solo when she announces that her star can no longer be hitched to your wagon, it is after all, stuck in the mud. This experience robs you of the one thing that reminds you that you’re worthy of love — a relationship.
A month later, after much belt tightening, you reach the last loop and find yourself holding a final notice, the one that reads cutoff, and facing a frightening piece of paper marked eviction. This experience robs you of the one thing every man needs to hang his hat—- a home.
Sure sleeping in the parking lot of the Quick Trip on South Carrier Parkway won’t kill you, but in winter it can break you of your physical and mental resolve (to move forward). Mental resolve, should it dip into the negative, could lead to a crisis, robbing you of the one thing that could lead to your family clutching an obituary —- your health.
None of this sounds like fun, unless you’re the kind who likes playing with grenades and the majority of us are intimidated by the sight of blood, let alone the thought of losing an eye or a limb. But perhaps we’ve got it all wrong. What if the same tectonic shift, the crashing and grinding that separated the continents, uplifted the Grand Canyon, and gave us the Himalayas, also takes place in our own lives? The problem is we don’t have the stomach for it, the right armor, or the right perspective /attitude.
We crave exemption from packing our boxes and walking in a humiliating daze out of an office that no longer has room for us – crash.
We stumble home for compassion, and a bit of sympathy, to a person who does not fancy us as a life partner – grind.
Our stomachs leap into our hearts, desperate for a hiding place from an 8.5X11″, 0.17 oz. sheet of paper, informing us of our need to relocate – upheaval.
So worthless and so permanent it feels, why? A field exercise designed by Darwin himself to prove that you were not the fittest, next time send me a questionnaire so that I can check it on a box rather than be stripped of everything promised to me in the DOI- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What a wicked game, life, and with so much at stake, so much that could grind, crash, and come unhinged at any time.
Be resilient they’ll say. Life is full of speed bumps, potholes, and setbacks. It’s no one’s fault, these things happen. Sure they hurt like hell, but give it time because time —– is —- an elixir. Some say it tastes like gunpowder, but it works.
Pangea, a supercontinent that existed 300 million years ago, began as a collision between Gondwana with Euramerica . It was surrounded by a single ocean, Panthalassa, until it began, as is often the case, to come undone. But do we marvel at the beauty that arose from so much destruction? Of course, stand at the boundary of the pacific, on a warm, sunny December on SoCal’s Pacific Coast Highway and watch as the waves rise to and fro, and be careful that you aren’t carried away in awe of its vastness.
If only we could trust that our own tectonic shifts (crashing and grinding upheavals) could leave something so perfect and majestic in their wake. The truth is we can’t because we crave to be whole, to be Pangea- untouched, unchallenged, and unmoved. If only we had been told, had been prepared for how expansive life wants to be, or better, demands to be, then maybe we would not protest so strongly, so blindly, so suspiciously the designs that God has for us. Then we could trust that life was supposed to be fun. But because we’re short on faith, imagination, and a sense of adventure, we miss the point of it all. Day after meaningless nights are spent in uninterrupted fear, regret, and complaint, rather than patiently waiting for our Pacific to rise.