I’ve mentioned this before—my need to just stop every once in awhileand think. My brain has a lot in common with our minivan—it’s old and loud, with dodgy electrical. And if you let it go too long without taking a Hoover to the interior, shit starts to pile up.
So. This morning. I tucked myself into the most remote corner of my neighborhood coffee shop with my laptop and a large non-fat latte, to write and think.
Think and solve.
Think and solve and become a better person. (Why not? I have the whole day.)
This shouldn’t take long.
I started by thinking about the boys’ education and how best to give them what they need. Public, private, Catholic, home school, some magical hybrid of two or more? What do we want? What is possible? What is best? And what happens when the Venn diagram of What we want, What is possible, and What is best, looks less like a Venn diagram and more like a three-ring circus?
It's like taking a leaf blower to my brain. School, work, family, geography ... What do I want? What is possible? What is best? Typically, when I know what I want, it doesn't seem possible. When I know what’s best, I’m not sure I want it. And when I know it’s impossible, I want it. And I convince myself it’s best.
This is why I need a job. To keep my brain off the streets. But something's up. I can tell my head is doing more than just hamster wheeling, when it resorts to schmaltzy cinematic dream imagery.
The night before, I dreamed that I was on a party boat—a massive old-timey ship—with all of my Facebook friends. And suddenly (though not entirely unexpectedly) the ship started going down like the Titanic. Do you remember how one half of the Titanic was submerged and the other half jacked up in the air? That was the most disturbing part of that (stupid, stupid) movie to me.
So our ship was nosediving into the ocean and everyone on board was gathered on deck around a young man who had put himself in charge. He was a clean cut, personal-trainer slash Christian youth group leader type of guy. And he was giving the group instructions about how if it comes to a point where they have to jump ship they should resist the urge to take their phones.
To call loved ones, I thought. Resist the temptation to make that call.
I looked at this guy, and all these people who were still smiling, in party mode, and I thought, why are they standing around waiting for instructions? It's obvious we all need to get off this boat. So I shinnied up the floor of the ship, which was now sticking up at a 70-degree angle, and I saw one or two lone shadows leap overboard. Without hesitation, I followed.
As I was falling into the water I thought, I hope it's not true. I hope it's not true that you get sucked down by the ship when it goes under. Then I hit the surface and started swimming like mad, telling myself I must be close to shore—it was just a party boat, after all. But I wasn’t close to shore. I wasn't anywhere near it. I was out in the middle of this vast churning sea and there was no telling if or when anyone would come to my rescue.
So the question became this: Do I swim for my life not knowing which is the way to shore or do I softly tread water and try to conserve energy until the way is clear, or someone is able to save me?
What would you do?