When the “Thinkable” Happens
I grew up in a home where seldom was heard a discouraging word, and the skies were not cloudy all day. It’s true. My parents moved from places of constantly cloudy skies (Ohio and New York) out to a little spot of paradise on the border of three states and two countries called El Paso, Texas. It is actually one of the sunniest locations in the United States, with 302 days of full sunshine a year. This Ohio born boy and this New York born girl built a home for us in a tree covered neighborhood that had a pool and ditch banks for horses and room for a corral out in the backyard.
My father, a salesman for Hills Brothers Coffee, was constantly studying and quoting books on motivation. Zig Ziglar’s “See You at the Top” and Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” were prominently displayed on his work desk. He told each of us three kids that there was nothing we couldn’t do if we set our minds to it.
We were very blessed, and lucky that way. I know that not everyone is so blessed, and lucky. One of my favorite lines from the book “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng involves a scene where two women, one white, one of color, are confronting one another about their different life outcomes. The white woman finally declares in self righteousness. “I made good choices!” The other woman replies “You made good choices because you HAD good choices.”
I’ve thought a lot about that line ever since. The truth of those words encompass and at the same time transcend racial disparities. It applies to everything, really. We all Choose from the choices we have. It is that simple, really. In an ideal world, we would all have the same amount of good choices laid out before us.
And yet, some of us, so many of us, make choices that could only be called…well…let’s just say it rhymes with Cupid. (We were never allowed to say that “S” word in our home.)
This is why I got so tickled when I saw a recent cartoon in the New Yorker. In it a man is in a wheel chair. His left leg is outstretched in a giant leg brace and his right arm is in a sling. He is casually explaining to the man wheeling him out of the hospital “So, I had a beer in one hand while riding a razor scooter downtown when suddenly the thinkable happened.”
What happened to him was not an accident, per se. It was a thinkable outcome of his choices.
So much of what “happens” to us is thinkable. Yes, there are certainly “unthinkable” things that happen to us. But I wonder what the ratio of T (Thinkable) to U (Unthinkable) would be if we looked at our own lifeline of choices, and ran the numbers. (My autocorrect wanted to type “thumpers” rather than “numbers” and I guess that would be an appropriate word choice too.)
I don’t know about you but my ratio so far is 90%T (Thinkable) to 10%U (Unthinkable.)
And some of those Unthinkable things were amazing, better than expected.
And some of those T Thinkable things led me to sad places, by my own lack of wisdom.
This is why we need a Higher Power, to help us think through the Thinkable (free will) and make choices that will lead to True Wealth, and happiness. This is what Jesus meant when he said “Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all else will be added to you.” Some people prefer the word “kindom” to “kingdom,” and I heartily agree. What Jesus was saying, I believe, is that when we set our sights on the Ultimate Good for all, we will find what we truly are looking for.
We will not be sifting sand trying to find gold, but will realize the gold that is the glimmer of time in the sand running through our fingers.
What we have, all we have, is this Golden Moment. Of Presence. Of Wisdom. Of Divine Connection. I don’t know about you, but I think THIS is what I shall think on, and seek, all the days of my life.
Amen and Amen