Wednesday, May 11, 2011

heaven and hell

An old adage advises that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." But is the road to heaven much different?

Good intentions are the times when the flags fly and the bands play and there are parades and confetti. Good intentions envision a revised and improved future. The applause, whether public or private, can be deafening. Good intentions are filled with "yes." Good intentions inspire ... and then ... and then ... and then....

And then it is time for action. No one  aspires to hell. Everyone aspires to heaven. But in action, where the rubber hits the road, where the fine print of life's contract jumps off the page, where hope and belief are put to the test ... well, sometimes it's heaven and sometimes it's hell but one thing is certain -- it takes a hell of a lot of work. Where once the deliciousness of inspiration filled the air, now there is nothing left but determination and patience and sometimes some pedal-to-the-metal cussing.

In the song "Blackbird," folk singer Gordon Bok dons the mantle of an unrepentant rascal who observes,

My life's a tale that I don't tell
I did my worst and I did it well
I'll never get to heaven but I stayed out in hell
And still I'm on my way
And isn't that the way of heaven and hell? Inspiration may wine and dine the joys of heaven. Desperation may paper the walls of hell. Joyous promises of inspiration may devolve into a contrived and controlling cynicism, but whose business is this? Who made this heaven or this hell? Who brought me here? Who created this moment when "now" and "then" lose their footing and dissolve?

Yes, it may inspire some full-throated cussing.

But there is also the opportunity to sing.

1 comment:

  1. Pot holes, all roads, nothin' but pot holes. We paint the terrain with our feeble human understandings and call it a road. Be good to your mule, he's not so easily fooled by our nonsense.