Saturday, September 17, 2011

Only the Faithful Shall Make it Across...

Only the Faithful shall make it across…..
Today is the day.  Sometime around noon, my wife and I will got the UPS store, carrying with us a stack of papers, find a notary public, and for all intensive purposes, end our marriage.  If ever there were a day of dual emotions, today is that day.  I have spent many hours and days anticipating this moment.  I have look forward to this moment, dreaded this moment, and in some instances done both at the same time.  All I know for sure is the moment has now arrived.
I look forward to and relish certainty.  I like knowing that the red spot on the radar will hit West Asheville at 6:10 PM, just like the weatherman says, thus giving me a window of 45 minutes to complete any traveling I want to do whilst successfully missing the storm.  I am comforted in knowing that Flight 109 from Charlotte to Pensacola will land exactly at 10:27 AM, just as the ticket tells me, and just as my watch counts down.  I enjoy knowing that the band will begin promptly at 9:30 justifying my need to get to the venue at 8:30 so as to secure the perfect space equidistant to the stage and the bar.  I am comforted by the “sure thing,” the obvious, and the predictable.  
So life, being the mischievous imp that it is, throws at me the mother of all curveballs.  I am now existing square in the middle of unpredictable chaos.  The red spot has stalled and I can no long plan my travels around the storm’s path and timing.  As I set out, I may vies the awesome beauty of cloud to ground lightening as the storm passes 3 miles to the south or I may have to squint as I drive through the worst hail and wind storm I have ever seen thus rendering my knuckles permanently white.  I may have the smoothest flight in history.  One where everything takes off and lands exactly when it’s supposed to and I am equipped with my own satellite radio hub, a window seat, and a working fan.  Or, we could be flying into wind sheer and making preparations to circle the runway for an hour and a half whilst the ground crew is busy cleaning up a spill.  I may arrive at the venue only to find the band hanging out at the bar ready to hand out back stage and after party passes to the myself and the 15 other people who thought it important to get to the spot an hour before show time.  Or, the lead singer could have strep throat and not be able to perform and the make up date that the purchase of my ticket affords me falls on the date I have a soccer game scheduled.  
The future is uncertain and I must accept and get used to that fact.  I have no clue what will happen in the next few hours or days let alone the next few years.  The possibilities are exponential and are equal parts sad, scary, and wonderful.  
Being a lover of history and good movies, the Indiana Jones series is quite appealing to me.  I love all of the movies.  I exclude The Crystal Skull from that series as I sometimes just ignore things when they are too bad to warrant my attention.  My favorite of the series is The Last Crusade which chronicles Indiana’s quest for the Holy Grail.  The part that stands out is the very end.  Upon finding the Valley of the Crescent Moon, Indy faces the unenviable task of actually entering the cave where the Holy Grail is housed in hopes of retrieving the life-giving chalice of Christ, filling it with water, and giving it to his recently gunshot wounded father.  As if being burdened with the responsibility of saving his dying father’s life wasn’t enough, Indy must pass three, very dangerous, tests before entering the Grail Chamber.  Narrowly escaping a beheading and falling to his death because he remembers how to pray and spell Yahweh in Hebrew, Indy faces his third, final, and most difficult task.  As he stands at the edge of a cliff, that he seemingly must fly across, he opens his book of clues and seeks guidance for his next move.  What is depicted are 3 men at the edge of the same cliff.  Two seem to fall to their death while one seems to fly across the cliff.  The words below the picture explain that only the faithful man will safely find his way across the chasm.  Not able to muster up the courage of faith to fly across the empty space, Indy reaches for his whip and looks for a place to swing across.  He finds none and discouraged, turns back and explains that there is no way to cross. He does not hear comforting words.  He hears his father’s sputtering breath and he struggles to cling to life.  Indy is faced with the challenge he most dreads, a challenge that will not be solved using his cunning and guile, a challenge that will be solved using faith alone, something Indiana does not have in surplus.  Hearing his father weakly mutter the words, “Just have faith Indiana,” he takes off his hat, wipes his brow, closes his eyes, breathes deeply, and takes a step into the abyss.
So, much like Indy, here I stand at the edge of a cliff, one that offers no certainty or comfort.  I don’t know what lies across the cliff or I can even make it across.  I am faced with the situation I dread more than any other, a situation where no amount of preparation of research can guide me through.  I am faced with a true test of faith. 
The difference between myself and Indian Jones is I could actually turn back.  I can go back to the predictable, the certain, and the somewhat safe.  I can choose the path of least resistance of danger.  I can choose the apparent solid ground of the status quo and not the uncertainty of the cliff.
So, today is the day I choose.  Today, I make the most important decision I have made to date.  Today, I take off my hat, wipe my brow, take the biggest breath I have ever taken, close my eyes, put one foot over the edge of the cliff, and simply step……..