The ribbons of our thoughts keep tidy the gifts of our lives.
For those of you old enuf to remember playing records, otherwise known as vinyl, on the record player or currently CDs on your CD player long before mp3s, you will remember this. Isnt it pleasant to be listening to your favorite tunes, drifting like the scent of fresh warm buttered pancakes being chased by frying bacon in the morning air, to some place other than now.
Isnt it terrible when the annoying scratch or skip occurs to crash you back to reality. I find it particularly similar to having realities we "assume" are "true" being suddenly shattered. What do I mean? Some of you can remember when Kennedy was shot and what you were doing when you heard the news. Some of you can remember 9-11, where you were and what you were doing when it happened. The point is this: "We might easily assume that some things go on forever or thats just the way things are" until suddenly we get a heartstopping wake up call. Something drastic happens and suddenly nothing is what it was. I am talking foundational as opposed to things tied to the first kiss. What if suddenly everything you never thought could happen did; would you resemble the poor people listening to War of the Worlds by radio for the first time; and run for the nearest highest window? People tend to respond to those kinds of shocks that way. Why do they make airline stewardesses say, "in the event of an emergency, please remain calm...." That's why its an emergency — calm is out the window; we talkin' survival now!
Its not odd that our normal is rooted in the familiar consistency. No, no crisis here. Actually I was looking for some clip art and came across a beautiful gold ribbon and bow around a Christmas present and it struck me how similar it is to our fragile existence...so help in place by "common assumption" and unnoticed faith in things taken mostly for granted. On the coming of Thanksgiving, I can only search for new ways to become even more thankful that at least my illusions have not been ripped away and my face shoved into the cold unforgiving concrete of reality. I think about the soldiers who are away from home fighting (few illusions running through their minds); I think about and remember the victims and families of victims from 9-11 (no illusions there; anything can happen at anytime, even in America, the strongest, freeest, richest country in the world); I think of the civil rights leaders and their families (no doubt of the darkness in humanity) and the list goes on; but I won't fail to mention the firemen and policemen and their families who deal with any host of potiential realities daily. There's a lot to be thankful for everyday and far more frequently than that. There really are no guarantees. That ribbon is worth the cost of the gift it wraps....