Worth A Thousand Words

20171224_005345A picture may be worth a thousand words, but no camera in the world can capture the black night sky with the richness of the human eye. It makes itself into a beautiful unexplainable mystery. The common stereotypical thing to do when flying somewhere is to post a picture of an airplane wing on social media so everyone knows that you’re better than they are. But the sight of a faint wing silhouette cutting between the stars in the sky and the sparse lights on the ground below is astounding and humbling and lonely, but in a pretty good way.

The holiday season brings a feeling of melancholy to a lot of people, with questions of whether it’s all worth the hubbub or if we’re somehow all missing the point. Are we missing the point? Has another year come and gone where we missed the point? As soon as a comfort level arises in the everyday, you’re cruelly reminded of all the things that you wish you had more time to do. Yeah, work is good and you’re enjoying it, your key relationships are healthy, but you really should have written a book by this point in your life, and there are people you’ve known for fifteen years that you’ve done an awful job of keeping up with. For every major life lesson that is conquered, memorized, and applied, four more failures or sins of omission pop into the back of the mind.

There’s a time and place for everything. That guy Ecclesiaste wrote that in his autobiography. Most success in life comes from preparing for an opportunity and grabbing it when it shows up all fashionably late and whatnot. Some people call a good chunk of it “dumb luck” which is a way of saying that something is controlling life and it isn’t us but we’re too afraid to admit it. So when the deep desires don’t match up with the opportunities that arrive, even if the opportunities are good, then it almost feels at times like whoever it is that is pulling the strings is messing with us. It’s a see-saw where the good opportunities open up and the stuff that you’d really, REALLY want to be doing slide down. Only, with this seesaw, there’s no real telling if the other side ever rises.

The philosopher John Reuben said in his latest album,

“Talking to a God I don’t have faith in
But couldn’t find anything quite worthy of replacing him”

Okay, so John Reuben is a rapper but still. Sometimes in life you want to look up to Heaven and say, “Really? Seriously?” and that’s fine because even that dude Psalm made those statements in his autobiography. From what I hear he was a guy who was known for going after the very Heart of God, so if he felt like that sometimes then I guess it’s cool when you do too, right?

That’s when it starts to clear up bit by bit and piece by piece. The floating situation that you find yourself in may not be the feeling that hits you at the end of the world. There’s the weirdest off-chance that it’s where you are supposed to be. That for some weird, unexplainable reason, maybe everything is….okay. Maybe everything isn’t lost after all.

You find yourself here, floating in the night sky in the waning hours of Christmas Eve on what was probably the best year of your life. Floating, drifting, with nothing above and nothing below. But wait, the lights show up, reminders that there is always something that you are floating through. The stars above: the career successes, blossoming new relationships, additions to the family, dreams and goals and chances to use our skills still waiting for the opportunity to shoot downward into our laps and drift along with us.

Household lights below serve to remind you of that time at work that you lost your cool on somebody because you were overwhelmed. The family drama. The stupid comment you made that wounded a friend. The side projects you promised you would get around to as soon as you get the time.

And there you are. You’re just a wing cutting through the night sky. Maybe that’s life: where we are always directly between the lights, drifting our way along until that one day that we find our place to land.

Drink up the celebration. Drink up the time with family. Drink up the gifts, the stockings, the merriment. Embrace the feasting. Embrace the melancholy, the occasional regret, the concern that maybe you could have or should have done more. For what are we if we don’t embrace our mistakes and negatives along with our successes? Halfway human. Be whole.

Merry Christmas.

“Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
So cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Tempted and tried, I wondered why
The good man dies, the bad man thrives
And Jesus cries because he loves em’ both
We’re all cast-aways in need of rope
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I’ve seen

Where did I go wrong, I sang along
To every chorus of the song
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gate
Leading mice and men down to their fate
But some will courageously escape
The seductive voice with a heart of faith
While walkin’ the line back home

There’s much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down to the river and let it run
And wash away all the things you’ve done

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
So cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by”
-Josh Garrels, “Farther Along”

One thought on “Worth A Thousand Words

  1. “For what are we if we don’t embrace our mistakes and negatives along with our successes? Halfway human. Be whole.”

    The whole post was great, but man, that last bit was tremendous. Gotta rush off and quote it on Twitter, ha ha. Nicely said!

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