It’s a wonderfully crazy life
December 21, 2007
Shopping. Decorating. Well wishing. More shopping. Hustling, bustling and blowing your nose. This time of year it is enough to make you look forward to dwelling on the irreversibility of global warming. In the green and red, frosty Madison Avenue maelstrom, politics and war are transformed into diversions. A credit crisis pummels housing values causing short-term interest rates to fall while mortgages become more expensive as the dollar grows weaker in a climate of looming inflation with oil prices sky-rocketing, and all the while NASA considers kyboshing all future moon landing missions. Throw a seasonal pathogen into the mix that lodges in your upper respiratory tract because a stranger grabbed the door handle at Target immediately before you did and immediately after catching a sneeze and you are bound to understand why everyone is raving about life.
This incredible gift that the greatest writers and scientists have struggled forever in vain to explain works according to a grand plan that we are destined not to know the details of, yet fully understand at the level necessary for our own survival. We are a resilient random collision of particles. When push comes to shove, we’ll take both rather than throwing in the towel and calling it good for the remainder of the meager amount of time out of infinity that we are allotted to call this planet home.
Life is good. Ask anyone. Even those who complain as a habit prove affinity for the nonstop monotony of inhaling and exhaling air by their continued presence at places similar yet far ranging as the Wienerstube stamtish to continuing education courses for Realtors in corrugated metal buildings at the edges of strip malls in declining nondescript suburbs.
Living is the ultimate in entertainment! In times of true crisis, as when the January credit card bill arrives, we are aware that, above all of the pain we have brought upon ourselves through a life of irresponsible and uninformed voting, we are determined to extend this odd game as long as we can. We vow to cut out saturated fats, lower our sugar intakes, and watch the salt. We exercise sporadically on a regular basis. We drive carefully and attentively when not in a rush. We go to bed early when there is nothing good on television.
All of this we endeavor because we know that today’s worries are tomorrow’s memories, and, once deposited into the suspiciously insecure vault of gray matter, it’s easy to eventually see that they are best converted into amusing anecdotes after we’ve sufficiently beat ourselves up over them. This cycle is so predictable and life so incredibly short that anyone paying attention, even slightly, realizes that the whole process can be skipped over and worries eliminated from the equation all together, if that is truly our desire. “Worry about nothing, pray about everything,” as the popularly paraphrased Psalm beseeches. The obvious benefit of doing this is that our entire memory allotment can be saved for the stuff that makes us cry only in happiness or sentimentality, and laugh at everything in between.
OK, the supremely awesome life-giving energy force of ultimate all-natural karma being, which I call God and describe using capitalized pronouns because I am a simple man, has a sense of humor. He would not have endowed us with one of our most endearing qualities, which we can use to extricate our miserable selves from nearly all of our pains at the expense of only temporary embarrassment to others, if He hadn’t recognized it in himself first and liked it.
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The only proof we need that life is a gift is to look around and see that none of us will easily give it up. Rich or poor, tall or short, good looking or residing downvalley; most of us are glad to be here and wouldn’t have forgone it for what might not have been.
The coolest thing about this gift from God is that he gives it so freely and not just to underprivileged people he doesn’t know and can create feel-good images about. He even gives it to people we hate, and not just to spite us. He loves them, too! Inconceivable!
Christmas is as good a time as any to ponder this. What comes so hard for many of us that we can only take it in concentrated doses once a year for a couple of weeks when golf is mostly out of the question is the very thing that God exists for ” loving everybody.
It’s enough to make you want to chuck the whole naughty and nice reward system into the heart of the landfill, far away from any piles of refuse that might get recycled. There is the concept in religion that, if we are up to standard with our lives, there is a great reward waiting for us. And, I believe this is true. But, here on Earth we have a name for people who act nice just to get a big reward, and I bet you think it’s “Realtor.” In fact, it’s “brown nose” and shame on you for entertaining the other idea, especially this time of year. The point is that I don’t want to arrive in Heaven wearing a gold blazer and driving a pink Cadillac.
Instead, I think it would be a great idea to be nice, for a change, just because God is so incredible that I think it would make Him feel good. I’ll show him that I am so grateful that he has not left me alone in this world by making my family, friends, and even an occasional semi-honest self-evaluation tolerant of my idiosyncrasies, that I’ll try to be kind to everybody else’s.
God bless us to spend more time helping each other get through the rough spots down here so we don’t have time to be self-absorbed, which only contributes to screwing things up. Thank you for sending a child to show us the way out of here when you are ready for us to come back home. That is one heck of a reminder of how simple this all really is.