On Fence Posts

Heard a lot of whining lately from various individuals about the pointlessness of life; about how we work in order to eat in order to work, etc. How it’s all one big rat race. How we’re all slaves to some nebulous “them” who manipulate and take advantage of, from behind the scenes. How the only way to thwart the “system” is to do nothing at all until “they” come to their senses, until “they” fix things, until by some miracle the life we are faced with every day maybe looks precisely the way we think it should. How maybe even God is some omniscient, sadistic being in the same class as the kid who liked to pull legs off flies in the second grade.

Here’s the deal:

I don’t care how corrupt your employer is or how how uninformed you think your teachers or neighbors or elected representatives are; nobody else–no, not even God himself–can make your choices; you do that. Not the choices that make you a worthwhile human being. Not the choice to get up every morning and love your children or serve your neighbor or learn something new. Those are the choices that make you a flesh and blood person, not the choices that are made for you by the legislature or the idiot in the car in front of you.

And if you can’t see past the choices that are made for you–the nitty gritty inconveniences of life–to the larger choices that when made have the power to form you into a living, breathing, larger-than-one-isolated-life of a human being, then you run the risk of disappearing entirely, of becoming merely the detritus of the big machine you so despise.

No! It’s not easy to be a flesh-and-blood person in a world full of sharp corners and ragged edges and impossible inclines. Of course not. Because even a fencepost can sit in one place and wait for the world to change. I believe that to exist is to do–whether or not that doing has precisely the results you anticipated.

Because hard things are worth doing, not because you are guaranteed success at doing them, but because the alternative is to do nothing at all: to spend your life waiting for some more likely opportunity or greater goal. It is to reduce yourself to less than even that fencepost–which at least marks a legitimate place on the map. Where you are sitting? There, in your self-satisfied place of superior knowledge about the way the world has gone to the dogs and is no longer worth engaging yourself in? That place doesn’t even exist outside of  your own mind, and if it did, nobody would want to mark it down on a map or revisit it after once having the misfortune of passing through.

Get up and do something–anything! I won’t even mind how loudly you complain about life, if you are also participating in it. Don’t imagine, for one minute, that sitting there on the sidelines qualifies you to critique those who are.

You know what?

That’s… all I’m going to say on the subject.

Zip-it-lock-it-put-it-in-your-pocket.

End of story.

Amen.


One response to “On Fence Posts

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