Amidst all the perverse news of death and mortal combat in places such as the Ukraine and Syria, the missing Malaysian airline jet and some misanthropic nazi shooting folks who turned out to be Christians at two Kansas City Jewish centers I feel the urgent need to say something good about life – to sort of counterbalance the obvious fact that it always finds a way to kill you.
And fortunately, along came my big galoof of a landlord who probably was voted least likely to succeed back in high school. Yesterday, just shy of his 45th birthday he assisted his wife of 18 months to deliver their first child via a C-section.
A 9.1 pound girl. They named her Isabella Victoria. And I am already calling her I-V.
For, I think that a baby is G-d’s opinion that life should go on — in spite of us. Such uncomplicated pristine joy, babies are like an intravenous reminder that life really is such simple pleasure… even though we insist on making it complicated.
And, as with the birthing of the lambs, I-V arrived in early spring when fecund Mother Nature gloriously sprouts and blooms while the retreating winter winds soften to stroke our welcoming faces.
Life really does have its moments to behold; I call them coffee breaks. And if I had to sum up everything I have learned about living it is clearly this: Life goes on. It is anything but perfect. It is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational…
But indeed, it goes on — with or without us. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality merely to be experienced.
Yet what seems to persistently baffle us is while our experiences can only be understood backwards — they must be lived forwards. Further exacerbating this dyslectic scrutiny in the rear view mirror is the bizarre irony that we get old too soon and wise too late.
I think I am getting a tad mellifluous. It seems to visit me this time every year with the saving of the daylight to push back against those long somber nights.
But I’ll get over it. What choice do I have?
It also seems to arrive with the holidays this week of Passover and Easter – two celebrations – whether apocryphal or not — of victory over death and oppression. Of rebirth and renewal. Of glory and redemption. Of giving thanks while admitting there really must be a G-d.
I mean, I may be too much of a skeptic not to believe in the possibility. But I do know that I would rather live my life as if there is a G-d and die to find out there isn’t, than live as if there isn’t and to die to find out that there is.
In other words there is must be more to life than booze, broads, bitterness and baseball – or so my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy told me. You know, little funny things that happen on our way to the grave — like the fact that the earth rotates every day with the punctuality of Big Ben and we get a free trip around the sun every year.
Need I say more.
But what is it about the birth of I-V that offers us – and especially cynical me — so much salvation? After all, once upon a time we were all such young gods and ingénues. We were all once no different than the little children I hear happily squealing in the playground across my street. We got along. We made our own rules. We solved our problems without knowing calculus.
So, when did the madness overtake us?
Obviously in the book of life the answers aren’t in the back. It is something we spend our lives accepting — the good with the bad and the fear of the worst. And in the end we finally discover that life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
I mean, on the grand side life is a sexually transmitted disease. But on the down side there is a 100% mortality rate.
Also on the downside life is very expensive. But grandly, I must offer, that in spite of the cost of living, it is still very popular.
I wish I had at least one more answer than questions. But I don’t. Obviously if I knew that bonus jeopardy answer the mysteries would disappear and life would simply stand explained.
Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that we are born ignorant, not stupid. So with that in mind, perhaps it would seem we are made stupid by how we are educated. And therefore doesn’t it appear a logical sequence that we are faced with the paradoxical fact that education, as it is instituted, has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought?
Chew on that thought for a bit. And you’ll no doubt conclude that I am absolutely sane. Look, in the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words. But I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.
In the end life is life. What emerges is that we unalterably spend our days figuring most things out, except how to live. And indubitably one-day-of-many I-V will be seeking the answers to the same questions people have been asking from the beginning.
Funny, isn’t it?
It won’t be long before she reckons: that any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that remains unresolved, wears you out. It’s not the years in your life that count it is the life in your years. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us. The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane…
In the end she, like me and you, will no doubt recognize that life is not an exact science, it is an art. That our entire life consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are. That life can be beautiful, but it is hard. After all, it does kill you. Indeed, life isn’t fair, which for most of us is a good thing.
Which is probably why I’ve been trying to develop a lifestyle that doesn’t require my presence.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…