Friday, May 27, 2011

Question Mark on the Face of Tomorrow

Life: A straight line, or a haphazard zigzag? This is a question many people don’t consider.

Most people assume that life is a straight line, punctuated by arrivals at goals. We are so goal oriented, in fact, that we probably miss a lot of opportunities that life could afford us, if we would but look up, out and around more frequently.

We don’t consider that even a stream of thought is a valuable process, one that starts somewhere within our consciousness, either to find completion, or punctuation by pauses, lapses or gaps—perhaps to be taken up at a later time, or not.

So many people grab at the quick answers. There is nothing wrong with asking for direction(s) or guidance. But sometimes blindly accepting answers is an abdication of experiencing a formative path.

What are we doing when we faithfully accept the guru’s pronouncement that the world is coming to an end? Giving up? Selling up? That is abdication. What happens when we purchase the latest fad herbal diet product? Giving up exercise and proper diet? That is abdication. When the world monetary fund fails to safeguard world economies, enriching a few at the expense of the multitudes, that is criminal abdication of responsibility.

On the other hand, what are we doing when we reject the ready answers provided by fallible people? It is possible that we are being foolhardy. It is also possible that we are embracing the haphazard zigzag that is the question mark on the face of tomorrow.

There are people who set out their goals, following a linear path toward achievement so closely that they never stray from their path long enough to notice the flower garden they pass everyday. There are people who allow their technological tools to be their only true friends, eschewing the multiple opportunities for connection with real people who surround them in their daily lives and work. When such people, due to unforeseen circumstances, become dislodged or derailed from their plotted course, they don’t know what to do.

Life is not about finishing, winning, or landing. It is not about permanence, security or roots. It is not about swift and empty answers.

Life is about the journey, and being present in the journey wherever you are, at any given moment of any given day.

Do you want to take the journey? The way is not to be found on the straight highway, the leveled mountain, or smooth plain. The way is found by engaging the question mark on the face of tomorrow. You can ask for directions and for guidance, but chances are, you will have to pull out your compass and find your own way, even if that means stumbling around some and losing your way. Not many people will know anything about the way that you are going, and the satellite photos don’t show what the landscape of life will reveal.

That’s the way it is supposed to be.

If there is one wish I have for you, it is this:

Please be sure to enjoy where you are while you are there. And send me a postcard, when you can.

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