Have you noticed…? We’re all crossing this same bridge, from diaper to shroud, only we’re each traveling it at a slightly different point along the way. And that, fellow travelers, is one of life’s great ironies. Even though we are all sharing the same bridge, we are each on our own trip. As determined by our own gender, age, race, country. Yes, we share human existence, yet can’t ever quite share it in the same way. So you see, you’re not the only one who has problems “getting through to people.”
Notice how often we start a conversation with “As I see it…” or “From my point of view…” Precisely said! Because each of us 7 billion earthlings can only see and smell and taste and experience this trip from our own very individual perspective. The movie critic…the judge…the home plate umpire…the child and the parent …the student and the teacher…the capitalist and the jihadist. Seven billion pairs of eyes.
In our best lyrical moments we look out on the world and see the magnificent uniformity of our common humanity. Minds, hearts, souls all an inspiring part of this idealized composite artists like Michelangelo painted in the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven captured in his “Ode To Joy,” Emerson in his “Thoughts on the Over Soul,” and Wilder in his “Our Town.”
Why then does this idealized composite shatter in the real world? For instance when you’re questioning your local alderman, debating the IRS, giving such good advice to your kids, asking your true love to change their plans, or the hooded robber to spare your life? Why does the ideal only exist in the abstract? In other words, why is everyday life on this bridge so often so unendurable?
Lately there are experts of every shape and size willing to sell you their answers to those questions. In their how-to books, their lecture tour, their PBS series, not to mention their occasional seances and drug trips. Trouble is, by the time the self-appointed experts have sold you all their answers, life has changed all the questions. Billions of new words, thoughts, causes and data pile up against our minds beyond their capacity to fully process.
However, we exist in an age when action is prized…action is honored….action is expected. And so we act quicker and glibber with every new headline. After all don’t our leaders and celebrities? Dare not to pause on the bridge lest we are consumed in the rush. The rush of no return, because we have forgotten how to take the time needed to take the next step.
Filed under: Uncategorized