My Rogue Mile will be released later this year!
Above Our Heads
PERHAPS THE most pressing constant about life is its challenge. The constant may vary in intensity—we may lose our jobs or a loved one; we may find ourselves struggling with health issues or a new drain on our income—but the constant never disappears from the "equation" of our lives. It was there from the moment we were conceived, and will be with us until we draw our last breath. No one is immune. No one escapes the constant.
A fairly rude and drunken suburban father once got up in my grill. "I always see you walkin' up the street," he grumbled, his breath stinking of stale wine, "and you never look up once. Is your life so damn hard that you can't look up and see what's around you?"
I thought such a comment interesting coming from him, a man who to get through his days had to liquor up. After all, wasn’t that a form of looking down too? Regardless, he was right. I was at the time under such a constant barrage of problems and issues that I felt stooped, like an overbearing weight had been dropped on my shoulders. From that moment on I resolved to look up no matter how hard that constant pressed down.
It was very difficult at first. I kept at it.
Eventually, that decision changed my life.
Looking up and forcing yourself to see what's out there is an act of anti-solipsism and -nihilism. If you have even an ounce of spiritual decency—and I recognize that few do—what follows next will be some form of gratitude. You begin giving thanks, even if you aren't completely aware you're doing it. And then you discover something quite profound: the constant challenge of life has a mediator, a factor that doesn't cancel out the constant, but has the ability many times (perhaps most; perhaps even all, though I must admit that I'm not quite there yet) to transform it. The constant can become in many ways positive and can be used to help others who might be struggling.