The battle of Bedford Falls

Drama.  Excitement. 

I am very human in the way I love to feel alive.  See the excitement in life all around me.  I love to find it for myself by trying new things, asking questions, searching for answers.

But, what I struggle with most, I think, is the very common, everyday life that is incredibly monotonous.  Wake up every morning.  Still need to make breakfast, dishes, laundry, whiney or fighting kids, dirt, sadness, meanness, decay, things that break and need to be fixed. The mundane.  The predictable.  The incomprehensibly never complete-able. 

It is one thing to be out on a horse conquering some big dragon out in the universe.  It is still another to stay home and fight ingratitude, boredom, and normal resistance to progress. 

It is like fighting gravity.  You want to be in outer space, above it all, doing something grand.

But, the fact is, life is happening on earth.  That is where it is.  Life is dirt.  It is a cycle of dirt.  It is hunger.  It is a cycle of hunger.  When you are winning, you don’t have something new and wonderful, you are just free from something distasteful. 

It takes a keen sight to find the glory is working hard to get rid of something unwanted that relentlessly comes back.  And, you know, if you quit, you will lose.  But if you work super hard you can never win.  It will always come back.

The weeds will come back, the dirt will come back, the hunger will come back, the bills will come again, the clothes will wear out, that thing will break.

Which war is harder, I wonder?  They are both necessary. 

But, it takes a very courageous person to carry on knowing it is a doomed mission.  It will never be finished.

But, perhaps that is the glory of it? 

The challenges are necessary to life, like gravity.

To win the war, we have to win the daily battle in Bedford Falls. 

(I’m just noticing how fitting that town name is.  Here is where we sleep.  Here is where we fall down.  Here is where we help each other keep getting up again.)


Everyday Courage

I was walking out of Walmart the other day and happened to see an elderly man at the check out counter.  A hanger fell to the ground and he was struggling to bend his knees and hips enough to pick it up.  I paused and watched him for a moment.  This, in all the commotion, caught my attention and I paused. 

He could have ignored it.  No one may have noticed or cared.  Someone else could have picked it up.  Doing it was so difficult it attracted attention and could have been very embarrassing to him.  

I’m sure my stopping to stare may not have been helpful.  But, if he could have read my thoughts, he would have heard several things.  I teach yoga and would have loved to be able to gently help him improve his range of motion over time.  I wondered what his circumstances where that made such a normal movement so challenging.  Maybe he had arthritis or a joint replacement.

But, most of all, I call it courage.  His example burns in my mind as a triumph.  He would not avoid trying it even though it was incredibly difficult, even though he had a big audience, and even though what was hard for him would be easy for most other people.

He had the courage to do it anyway.  And he did it his way.  Speed was less important than trying and succeeding at long last. 

And he did succeed. 

I don’t know what conditions he may have that limit his movements, but in most cases movement improves movement.  Trying makes possible what was not possible before.  And, even if physically he is no better off for reasons beyond his control, I am better off–

because he dared to do it –Anyway.