Sam looks up from his Sunday paper
And says "Boys, you're on the wrong track
The secret of life is there aint no secret
And you don't get your money back..."
The secret of life is in getting up early
The secret of life is in staying up late
The secret of life is to try not to hurry
But don't wait...
--- Faith Hill, The Secret of Life
"Our lives are made in these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate
Time falls away, but these small hours still remain..."
--- Rob Thomas, Little Wonders
I suppose it was somewhere around a half-dozen years ago when I began to realize that it was no longer relevant whether or not my ship came in. The little rusty things in my life began to look a little more holy than I had ever recognized them to be, and I made a conscious decision that I'd plant my feet and allow the ordinary hours to wash me clean, rather than wash me away.
Yet for those of us raised in the Age of Celebrity, there's always that tug toward the Magnificent, the belief that we'll sleep just a little better if there is more adrenaline flowing throughout our days. For those of us raised in the church, we looked to God to legitimize, and provide for, that desire. Few of us ever made it out of the honeymoon stage of relationships, movements, or beliefs until we decided that it was more desirable to follow the Spirit than to wrestle with the angel. There are friends from my past who have followed the Spirit for millions of miles, in and out of churches and marriages, and are still looking for that shiny moment to last.
But I am in no position to judge. "'Cause after all, we know we all are after all the same things," Bebo Norman sings, and it only takes a few years of living on the same dirt with the same people to realize how true this is. I suppose whether we loyally embrace the ordinariness or keep our eyes over the horizon for the parade of excitement, what we are really looking for is nothing more than an acknowledgement that we are here and that we are alive. It's nice to know that a few people like you, and at least some of them think you are funny, and that they hope sometime soon to be around you. That's about it, really.
So I'm sitting here, a few weeks from 33 with a big pimple on the tip of my nose and a beautiful dog at home waiting for me. There's lunch today with a friend who always pushes me to write that book and then this afternoon I'll go to work where I'll try to sell some books so I can pay some bills. There are people real close to me, in spirit and proximity, that I love dearly enough to wrestle through difficult conversations and ordinary, somewhat boring moments. In my group of people there are little kids and babies crawling all around, and into, the crevices of our souls where their tenderness and spirit-of-exploration is the Balm of Gilead that God uses to patch up these torn pieces of flesh.
It's as if I really have somehow inadvertently stumbled upon buried treasure.