Sunday, November 30, 2008

All I need...

I used to take 40 kids camping with me every summer; it started out innocent enough; but in the word's of Ron Burgundy "that escalated quickly." As a kid, growing up in the inner city of Los Angeles, I did not have an opportunity to experience much of nature. As a matter of fact the only experience I ever had with an open fire was standing around a fire that was lit in a trash can on the curb in my neighborhood; well that is not completely true, there was another time, when I was about eight-years old, but that involved a field, a book of matches, the fire-marshal's son, and some youthful curiosity; which was a really bad combination and most certainly a story for another time.

For this story I go back to my analogy of camping. When camping, we would take as many provisions as humanly possible. Our truck would be so loaded down that we looked a little like the Beverly Hillbillies. Even with all that stuff we would always invariably forget something.

There are times in life when we are stressed about all that we do not have; it is the nature of compelled and anal humans to gripe. It seems that for many of us, it is in our DNA to live in a constant state of discontent. The pressures of life seem to close in and produce an emotional claustrophobia and as a result, we feel the urge to abandon ship.

All the things we have at our disposal to make our lives more convenient and yet, none of them can deliver us from what is inevitable and that which is really needed.

I have always laughed when I think of the scene from Steve Martin's "The Jerk." In a despondent moment Martin's character says "all I need is this chair". This analogy helps remind me that "what's happening is not what's going on." There is more to our situations in life than meets the eye. Even though we may lose perspective, there is more happening around us. There is a need to ascend to the correct perspective in the process of living..

I am often asked why it is that I do not panic over deadlines. Why it is that I seem to be able to look the most 'fiercest dog' of the corporate world in the eye with little fear. Is it arrogance, a lack of intelligence? No. My resolve is an awareness that my most ardent adversary is simply human, he has no more power over me than I allow him to have. I see that my most severe trial is only temporal. I carry a keen awareness that "this too will pass" and that I really have more than I need. The nature of that awareness and the well of that provision is beyond me, it is most certainly relational. I often speak to skeptics about this "luck" I seem to have. If it is coincidence (and I think it more providence than not) than may I be on the right side of chance.

The Hitchhiker
Victor Manning

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