Saturday, May 22, 2010

a comfortable lead

The fifth inning turned into a hitting festival.

First the home team, the baseball team on which my younger son was playing, racked up seven runs on top of the one run they already had. Everyone was hitting. It was a bonanza of satisfaction. On the home team bench, I could hear one of the players say "we've got a comfortable lead."

But when the visitors came to bat, they too racked up five runs in quick succession. The sand began to run out of the "comfortable lead" -- this was a real threat to the victory that had seemed, just a half an inning ago, to be within a kind of ho-hum reach. Optimism and smug assurance on the home-team bench turned to wavering doubt and, perhaps, a kind of fear.

Bank accounts, love, employment, religion, hearth and home -- how nice to have a "comfortable lead" -- to feel the heart rest and relax in an assured assumption. I'm a winner and it is no less than my due since my dreams were directed to this moment, this smooth and easy victory.

For those old enough to have seen victory come and go, there can be a similar assumption -- what is gold today is lead tomorrow, what was joy in this moment turns to edgy uncertainty in the next. As the one heart assumes an assured certainty, so another assumes and assured and perhaps jaded, uncertainty.

And the assumptions seem to have a force of their own, as if, well, we are built for assumptions and expectations and who would we be without our dreams and hopes, our nightmares and despair? Don't we have to think something or feel something about things? In what way are we human otherwise?
Wouldn't it be robotically cold to set such matters aside and walk through life serene as a peacock feather?

But if certainty is not enough and uncertainty is not enough, what is enough to assure the peace of mind that will meet-and-greet the circumstances that arise in life ... the actual-factual stuff that comes along irrespective of certainty or uncertainty? Where is the resting place to which, somehow, we feel (or even know in some part of our being) entitled and yet eludes us at every turn?

Self-help books and ancient texts and wise gurus cannot reveal such a place or state of mind. Their truths may be inviting or consoling and yet somehow we are not consoled. We demand peace of mind and life seems to giggle at our demands, as if it were saying, "sling all the certain or uncertain bullshit you like, you can't catch me ... I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

If you bang your head against the certain/uncertain wall long enough, there may come a moment when you realize how good it feels when you stop. It takes some investigation and some willingness -- not commodities that anyone can talk you into. You either investigate or consent or you don't ... your choice, your life.

But what's the payoff for the one who does investigate and does consent?

Well, today has the makings of a beautiful day. It's cool, with some cloud cover, but ... what a nice day. Nothing added, nothing missing. Laughing ... just laughing.

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