Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tram or Burro?

I was watching an absurd comedian on television a few weeks ago. He was telling of a trip to Greece with his wife and a side excursion to the top of some minor mountain top.

"Now the tourists have two options to the top... you can take an aerial tram, takes two minutes, or you can ride a burro, which takes all friggin' afternoon.

"The guy renting the burros has to have about the worst sales pitch in the world...

" 'You can take the burros to the top of the mountain, or you can take the tram. The price is the same.'

"Now I don't know about you, but if I was trying to rent burros, I'd keep that little piece of information to myself."

He got his laughs, I smiled a little. I knew the point wasn't about the comfort or the speed to the top of that grecian mountaintop. It was about experiencing Greece. It was about going to the top to watch the sun set, or appreciate the archipelago. The whole point in going on a trip like that is to appreciate the place itself, its beauty, its culture. It isn't about speed.

I might very well choose the burro if I had the time.

I understand his point though. We like to do things fast, easy, conveniently.

Want to lose weight? Surely there must be a pill for it. Let's fax it, email it, order it online. Let's do it virtually, swallow the capfull, drag the ol' Ab Do-er into the living room.

Want to get closer to God? Change the radio station to a Christian one, or get to your seat in church on time.

Want life to be easy?

Me too.

I walked into the counselor yesterday. We made small talk. I sat silently, impatiently. We finally got to business. Brenda reported the events of the past week.

What a mess.

I had three options for Brenda and they had one trait in common trait: they were quick. Each had a finality about them, an immediate resolution. A nice and tidy conclusion to a messy situation.

The counselor had a fourth option. One that hasn't a quick resolution. One which requires more work, more prayer, more patience from me.

It offered help for Brenda, healing, time to catch her breath, time to learn to make good decisions.

Being human is a strange thing. We are spiritual beings trapped in physical bodies driven by animal needs and desires. We are so far removed from our true home, the one we have been adopted into. We are visitors to this world, this foyer into eternal life.

We are sort of like middle schoolers. No matter what is next in their schedule they are eager to be dismissed from their current location to rush to science or math or Language Arts. I would like to rush through this, get past the messy part.

The point of being here isn't just to complete the task. It isn't about getting to the top of the mountain and getting the snapshot that can be emailed home or uploaded onto a blog. The point of being here is to learn, to grow, to understand who we are, what we are about, even if the learning is difficult. Maybe it is even to help each other, especially those we love.

I may be just a visitor to this mortal life, but I know that sometimes I should take the burro, not the tram.

I want this to be over. I want us to move on. I want my wife to say she is sorry, that she loves me, that we can be whole again.

Instead I find that my wife needs me, that she is ill and it is my job to do as I vowed, to love and cherish in sickness and in health.

So, there's a steep mountain ahead. The fellow renting the burros tells me the tram is faster and the same price. But I know that the purpose here is to do what is right, to experience this “vacation from eternity.” Besides, I think the guy renting the burros is my Lord in disguise.


Ame said...

You are a man of wisdom. Continue to pray freely and fervently for wisdom, discernment, discretion ... for the Lord gives freely to those who ask.

Anonymous said...

Amen to what Ame said.
Start writing that book!

Smitty said...

I like the burro story. I know that most times I would rather take the tram..take the easy way out...hurry and get things over with. But many times the burro is the way I'm going. Sometimes that burro seems to me to be stubborn, not going where I want it to. I have a choice to stay on until I get to the top or get off and try and find my way on my own. Sometimes neither one sounds real appealing.

Anonymous said...

stay on your burro; alot of us need to stay on ours as well. love you, aggf

curious servant said...

She is pretty angry. She gave notice at her work, emailed me asking if I'm happy now.

Yeah... Am I happy?

No, I wouldn't say that.

So I'm the one she is angry at, the one at fault.

And she is right.

She loves that job. She has friends there, and I'm not referring to him... she has coworkers and colleagues and supervisors she likes.

The hours were good and the pay was as well.

No matter that she made the decisions, the choices, it was myu insistence that forced her to give up her job, and she is ticked.

She says she doesn't want to be here. She wants to run away. Yet I have done everything except force her to leave and she has chosen to stay where she says she is unhappy. She has chosen to stay where she feels life is drudgery and tedium and is a trap.

It doesn't make sense does it? Why would she choose to do what she feels is not right for her?

It must be all my fault.

Have I tricked her? Trapped her?

OK... Make it my fault. I don't mind.

She needs rest from life. She needs to forgive herself. She needs to blame me.

So... OK... my fault.

Ame said...

You know ... I tell my girls all the time ... the truth doesn't change whether you believe it or not. The truth is, she has trapped herself here; she must face the sick fact that her choices have caused these consequences. Who she chooses to blame does not change the truth. (Neither am I to blame for my ex sleeping with prostitutes, though he chooses to believe I am responsible. I am not. That is a lie. It is his choice to believe the lie. But it doesn't change the truth that it was his choice.)

Aphra said...

I like the burro analogy.

We are all trapped by the choices we make. It is the next step to be able to own them.

bjk said...

This is amazing......I am sitting here at my desk in tears at the 'unwanted' wisdom here......grateful for it. Praying for you to continue to seek Him and sharing it here with us and us praying for you both.

Amrita said...

Dear Will,
What you have said about the tram and the burro is what I needed to hear. I need to get on the burro. The tram has drained me of the joys of life and given me blood pressure and cholestrol and what not.I just want everything quickly and neatly tied up, it doesn 't work that way and then i drive myself crazy trying to live up to my expectation. It runs in my family too...perfectionism.

I will try to get pictures of a burro and a tram and put up some place where i can look at it when i am stressed.

Thank you Will. In the midst of your own dufficulty you 've have taught me a lesson.

Jada's Gigi said...

Yes, it is almost always our Lord in one disguise or another. He lets us choose the tram...(something about free will..:)) until we are backed into a corner somewhere then He we are in a position that we have no choice but to struggle through if we hope to find real peace,health....Christ.
God help you my brother..the mountain is high and the burro is slow...but keep in mind...the reward is not a healthy marriage, or peace in your house...He is the prize...for you, for Brenda, for the boys....In Him are all things.

Judas Hate said...

Ron White would be pleased to see his vacation turned into a spiritual lesson:-)

Trivial note: Ron decided not to do the "Blue collar Tour" with Jeff Foxworthy, Larry The Cable Guy and Bill Engval for two reasons. PREFACE: They asked him to stop drinking scotch and smoking cigars on stage because they do a "family" show and felt that wasn't appropriate for their audience.
Ron agreed with them, but decided to not do the show any more because he didn't want to be anyone other than who he really was.
They all respect each others stand on this and remain friends.

Julie and I love this post. We also are big fans of Ron White.

I am a bigger fan of you.

And I think He runs both the tram and the burro. Maybe He just hopes you'll choose the burro. He loves you either way.

bjk said...

Praying you are far away from the storms......

bjk said...

Praying you are far away from the storms......

curious servant said...

No... it is bustling out there. It is pretty windy, rainy, flood at the coast.

But, I think the media over dramatizes it. It isn't what I see on the internet. There are people being driven away from their homes. There are scatted power outages. But we are built for rain.

I'm not thinking about the weather too much.

I know I should jot down sommething about what is going on in my life, but I am simply worn out. I feel discouraged, tired, weary. I am trying to help my wife heal, all without any promise of healing our marriage.

I had a students stop me in the hall today. Awkward kid. One of those in the class which deals with emotional, social, and mental disabilities.

Good kid,. He fell in beside me as I was striding down the ahll. I barely slowed to allow him to keep up.

"Mr. Greenleaf... Can I ask you something?"

"Sure D_______, what is it?"

"Well, I hope I'm not out of line, or that you'll get mad or anything, but I was wondering... You seem sad this year."

I stopped and turned.

"Was it OK to ask that?"

"Well, I don't feel coomfoprtable talking about my personal life with students, but I can see you are a good boy who just cares about me. Thank you. I've just got some things on my mind, that's all. You are a pretty perceptive kid, you know?"

"Yeah, I guess. I think that babies can always tell how people feel. I think most people grow out of it. I never have. I can always tell how people are really feeling, even if no one else does."

"You're a good kid, D________. Catch you later."

I so wish I could be, do, have, experience something different than what I have right now. Still, I have a great job. What a privilege to serve such students as D________.

Ame said...

What an amazing kid. My Youngest is perceptive like that ... and the emotions of those around her really disturb her if it's someone she cares about. Her teacher's best friend died during the school year last year ... Youngest happened to be sick the first day the teacher was back to school - we agreed that was a really good thing.


I'm sorry it's so hard. It sucks. It really, really does. There's no easy way out. I wish there were, but there really isn't. That sucks, too.