I’ve been wondering why it is that flashes of brilliance – or at least flashes of our best selves – manifest themselves while we’re in no position to act on them. Creative juices, spiritual prods, humanitarian urges. They all arrive when we are somehow incapacitated.
I’m sure I’m not alone.
You are resolved (and possibly repentant) to be a better parent and give that kid the full-on attention they need, to set aside your own agenda, to be there for them and guide them into their thrilling and golden future lives. The resolution arrives, however, at 11pm, in bed, just as you’re giving way to the first snores of the evening. In the morning you’ll be lucky if you remember that you have a kid.
Your next essay comes to you, nearly in its entirety, served up on a platter of desire with a hearty side of voracious vocabulary. Just as you drive away from your house for the day full of errands and extroverted drainage that awaits you. By the time you get home, you’ll be in a semi-vegetative state with no recollection that you are a writer, or even an astute observer of anything past your navel.
You feel that pang of spiritual awakening, the seeds of desire that you’ve been lacking for months. You want to want God, of course, but the actual firsthand desire has been elusive for a moon or two. While ‘fake it til you make it’ holds bottomless worth in the spiritual arena, those moments of fire and vigor sprinkled into the hard work of it all sure are welcome visitors. And there it is, a little spark of actual, honest-to-goodness craving for the Divine. You reach for the nearest implement of faith-fodder with which to fan the flame and within seconds one kid needs help with Geometry, ten chickens have dropped dead and await removal from their home before a nasty case of cannibalism sets in, and another lost child has fallen victim to a day of sh**-colored glasses and can’t bring themselves to do anything but stare at you and hold back the tears. Yes, of course… all of these are the best faith-fodder out there, opportunities to be loving and kind and the hands and feet of Christ (and apparently the mortician), but what you were looking for was the euphoria. Just a little taste of the pontifical bliss and splendor that gives you the shiny-happies, yet is so fleeting. Once you’re done mopping up the day, it’ll be nothing shy of a miracle if you remember to say your prayers.
I’ve been wondering and pondering.
I know my resolutions should be tough enough to survive – at a bare and pathetic minimum – a single night’s sleep. I know I could carry a little recorder with me everywhere to catch the muses mid-inspiration and uncork them later, when time and lack of a steering wheel permit. And I certainly know that disturbances and distractions are the manure-laden fertile ground of spiritual growth, and furthermore, nowhere did Jesus promise me a steady diet of the shiny-happies, or even any of the shiny-happies for that matter.
But dang, the timing just kills me sometimes.
If you need me, I’ll be recalibrating. You know, again…