Life is not what I thought it would be, or rather, I’ve learned that the idyllic life I was expecting to lead is better in some ways, but horribly cruel in others. This intangible subject of life is one that I ponder often.
My lovely bride and I discuss this subject frequently and it never seems to come to a satisfactory conclusion. We both agree however that life is not what we expected. Stepping back to when I was a kid, like most of us, the future was wide open.
*Into the great wide open
Under them skies of blue
Out in the great wide open
That was me and possibly you. Well, it didn’t turn out quite like that did it? After high school and four years in the Air Force I gave my life to Jesus Christ, married a local beauty, had two loving children, and spent 37 long years working shift work in the chain link fenced area of a chemical plant.
It is hardly what I expected out of life, but in other ways, extremely rewarding. The upside was I brought a great measure of security to my family. I acquired new skills and property. I worked thousands of hours of overtime. I learned to repair computers. I became a writer and author. In exchange for all this work and commitment, I lost out on family time and this was the downside.
Passing through most of my adult life without serious loss probably put me in the minority, as all of us learn that life can deal us a hand that makes it almost impossible to go on. Loved ones, friends, and people who are special to us… die. That’s something that can be so debilitating that our own death seems preferable.
I have a friend who awoke next to his wife of many years only to realize she had passed in the night. My heart pours out to this fellow and I’m sure his view of life is quite dismal. I pray the up in his life comes quickly.
I absolutely hate depression or depressing subjects and this is why I couldn’t get through more than a season or so of the award-winning television show, Breaking Bad. Someone suggested I watch the series Dexter, because “It is so exciting!” Nope. One minute into season 1 Episode 1 and I shut it off. Instead I turned it over to channel 16, our local municipal access channel and watched the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s presentation on prairie chickens, of all things.
Wanda Orton’s column on the antics of Rufus Honeycutt’s father at the Brunson, is the way I choose to see life in the future. I know there are more setbacks ahead, but I want to see the up coming, even if it means picking myself up off the deck and shaking the dust off after a down.
As a youngster, teen, and man in my twenties, I had no real clue that life for the most part is what I make of it and how I choose to view it. Guess what folks? A whole lot of what we see as life is by choice, not necessarily by chance. Sure, every once in a while a foul ball comes into the stands and there’s not much you can do but cover your face, but this is the exception and even if you are hit, life goes on.
For years I led my life pretty much like an anchorless boat following the current, not realizing that with a little preparation, I could add a rudder and a small motor and danged-well go where I chose.
I can walk into my work place with a good attitude and greeting, or do like most of my coworkers and not even offer a salutation or claim to begin life at the end of their shift. They are still in the boat drifting and I have a motor. I’ll take the first choice every time.
Someone said that for every up, there is an equal down. I think it was the guy who invented the third iteration of Fig Newtons, but I’m not sure. If you think about it, this is an example of life. We should be taught as children to not seek a life of pure pleasure and be toughened against adversity. I don’t rightly know how this can be done in our modern society. Back in the day, kids had chores and jobs while going to school. Now they are home more than their parents.
They occupy themselves with anything that can pass the time and it is all based on pleasure. When the “Fam” can finally get together, it’s time for more pleasure, to “bond the family”. When anything tragic happens, the kids need counseling, as they are totally unprepared to deal with even the smallest obstacle.
No, life is not what I expected in so many ways and yet, I still have my faith, family, and friends to bolster me and carry me through the low places. If you are in one of these terrible depths, take heart; you can be sure there is an up coming your way. It’s Newton’s third law.
* Tom Petty – Into The Great Wide Open
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