The rain this morning, February 28, 2014 reminds me of a few things.
The first is that there is no February 29th this year. The next one comes in two years. Despite the fact that there will be a tomorrow tomorrow, the date will not be the 29th. Our ability to predict, to anticipate, to count on what tomorrow will bring is regulated by forces outside our control. And forces that are so powerful that we cannot comprehend how like a leaf we are tossed on the winds of time. As a small-boat fisherman put it, “Oh Lord, my boat she is SO SMALL and the ocean she is SO BIG.”
Secondly, last week I spilled a glass of fruit juice on the carpet in the living room. Within a few seconds I had grabbed a dishtowel from the kitchen and thrown it on the spot. I was amazed at how quickly it absorbed the liquid. The towel was able to do that because it was completely dry. Had it been soaking wet, its absorptive powers would have been almost zero.
And finally, remember that guy at the Fair who demonstrates the magic sponge. I happen to know him – Jonathan is his name – because I manned a booth at the Fair years ago when I was selling property down in San Felipe. One day Jonathan asked me an interesting question during one of those insanely boring ten minute lulls in activity. He asked, “Where did the Cosby’s go to church, the Brady Bunch, the Father Knows Best family, the Cleavers?” I vaguely recalled Beaver Cleaver getting in trouble for messing up his Sunday clothes. But that was all. During a time in America when probably 80 percent of families went to church on Sunday, the “ideal” families did not.
So how do these three things tie together? When we are impressed repeatedly by the world around us, and particularly by overwhelmingly vivid things like television, we take on the character of the people who have impressed us. Those impressions become so much a part of who we are that we no longer question their validity (truth) and it changes the way we think about ourselves. We become soggy towels, filled with the liquid pourings out of the media, and we cannot examine the spills. Here is an example, when there is a school shooting and only one person is killed, almost nothing happens in our mind. How about the minds of the kids in that classroom?
We are so inundated by it all that it just rolls off us. “Marijuana is not that bad of a drug.” “I was only doing 80. Its not like I was being reckless.” “The boss is rich. He can afford this little thing I am borrowing from the company.” “She did X to me, so doing Y to her is just evening things up, isn’t it?”
The catch is that one day, and maybe tomorrow, there will be no February 29th for us. Our ticket will get punched, we will buy the farm, we will encounter the ultimate complication. The time left to us to become dry and absorptive will have past. So wring yourself out because tomorrow you will need to see the truth. Like Jonathan, you will need to step back from it all and take a good hard look. Then you will see the good, the bad, and the ugly and know what to do about them.
by Bob Bekins, February 2014