what is it for you?

Image Credit: Studded Hearts

The light flashed across the slick blacktop, blinding for an instant before sliding away on its ever revolving path.  It would strike me three more times before I passed it by.  Four moments of sightless travel on a rain soaked journey through the darkness.  Is it faith, experience, or naiveté that carries me through those moments fearlessly?

The boy child from the equator has woken grumpy from his years-long nap.  The tantrum he shall unleash will cause mudslides, spinouts, fallen limbs and trees.  There will be damage and chaos, though he will take no delight in that aspect of it.  The child is too immature to know anything beyond whatever emotion currently holds sway.  My journey will intersect with his fussiness several times in the coming days and months.  Is it faith, experience, or naiveté that allows me to face each new drive without fear?

The future beckons from the horizon.  The world spins towards it but will never catch it.  The unknowns, the mysteries, the triumphs and the tragedies all remain elusively hidden just beyond our sight.  I will never know what twists and turns are waiting for me, but I venture out anyway. Is it faith, experience, or naiveté that fuels my fear free actions?

Or, is it something else?  A sense of responsibility?  A need to please those around me?  An ideal I’m striving for?

We face countless decisions each day that dictate the urgency with which we travel our unique paths and how close we allow those paths to veer towards danger.  And most of those decisions we make without actually giving any weighty thought to: driving cars, the food we eat and drink, sitting at computers eight hours a day, etc…  There is inherent risk in all of it.

So, what is it that allows us to so callously ignore these dangers every day?  Is it faith?  Is it experience?  Is it naiveté?  What is it for you?


50 thoughts on “what is it for you?

  1. que sera sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see, que sera sera…… 😉 I think for me it’s faith in the universal laws that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing most of if not all of the time. I have always believed when it’s your time, it’s your time, and any decisions you make to try and stop it will be futile. There have been far too many instances of people living miraculously through stuff that should have done them in, and people mysteriously dying from stuff nearly all of us walk away from. When it’s your time, it’s your time. So I guess I don’t worry too much about that stuff. That’s not to say that I throw caution to the wind…. 😉

  2. Do we have any real choice but to go forward? I don’t think so. But occasionally we are reminded of our mortality or worse–that of those we love. Last week my son totaled his car on a highway — and when I saw it I knew how close I had been to losing him. He should be in a Subaru ad… He is fine, literally got only a scratch. But a terrifying reminder of many of the things you said here, DJ.

    • Hooray for Subarus. The Kingdom family car is a Forrester, and I’ll be getting a legacy for my work commute soon. I’ll glad your son is okay!!
      I think some would suggest there is at least one alternative to going forward – though, in a way, even that fatal choice is going forward too – directly facing our own finality.

      • Jacob car was a Forrester, too. I have an outback which I wasn’t too enthusiastic to buy (thought it was boring, etc. but it worked for my MIL and the dog sooooo….). Now I LOVE it. My husband has a Forrester, too. We are now quite hooked although we can’t afford to buy another Sub…

      • I never thought I’d want an outback either, but they are ridiculously versatile and fun to drive. My only lament is that they don’t come in manuals anymore. Sad times. The Legacy will be replacing a pickup truck I’ve owned since 99.

  3. I’m with Elyse on this one: I don’t think we have any other choice but to go forward. Even if it feels like we’re falling backward, backward, backward, we’re still headed towards the unknownable-ness of the future with every passing breath.
    And through faith, naivete becomes experience. 🙂

    Also, Subarus are the best cars. I had an Outback that got me from Idaho to Utah with a failing spark plug. Little thing just kept on goin’!

  4. I just keep going and going, kind of like the Energizer Bunny. Sometimes the batteries do need replaced. I absolutely loved my Subaru Outback until I replaced it with a Toyota Rav4. Love the car and all the storage space you get by having the spare on the back. I don’t think they are made that way anymore, though.

  5. It’s mostly routine – the acceptance of the “normal”. If we actually considered the risks involved in everything we do, then we would do nothing. Luckily our minds are rarely multidimensional and follow linear processes. Or, as the young child you mention might say, “I spit in your general direction.”

  6. The world’s not actively out to get us. Even illness tend to be rather accidental fuck-ups on part of the germs rather than something targetted at us to make life worse. On the whole, I think life, when left to its own devices, tends towards success. We are, after all, primed for survival.

  7. I’ve always considered my curiosity layered. when a few standard experiences are peeled away and certainty gets kinda slim, I become more engaged. Some of it is adrenaline, but a lot of it is sensing new ways to be curious, to encounter things. I agree with Elyse about going forward, but I think being callous or reckless about it isn’t just going forward…it’s exhaling yourself into corners of the universe that are otherwise iced over to those cautiously passing by.

  8. I’m with the move forward group. I don’t have much faith. I’m not naive and my experience would make me stop in my tracks, even though others have it way worse. The alternative is a permanent stop. Subarus have always been high on my list. As I get old, I think about it for the icky driving in the snow. That picture is haunting.

  9. I think it’s habit and complacency. We do it because that’s what we’ve done, it’s what other people do and it works. Unless we have had a major event to affect our feelings on something (fatal car crash, getting a parasite from food or water, blindness from computer activity, etc) we have the attitude, “That won’t happen to me,” and we keep doing what we do.

    • I think habit definitely plays a part, yes. It’s the way we’ve always done it. Tradition for the sake of consistency, even when the world isn’t the same as it was when we started.

    • Did you come up with one? Or, did you stay in? Or, did you leave the house without an answer? Because that’s the secret, right? We don’t actually need to know why we do the things we do every time.

      • Yes, we don’t need to know, but once asked (if not frightened away by the prospect of introspection) we will try to find one.
        I did come up with a partial answer, though: statistics.

      • Certainly: the chances of some specific danger occurring are smaller than the chances that something will happen.
        When we reason, however, we weigh the likelihood of a specific danger occurring (which as said, isn’t that high) and not the likelihood of something occurring at all.
        So, what happens is the following: on our way out of the house, we don’t think “what are the chances that something bad will happen?” but rather “what are the chances that I’ll be hit by lighting?” [low].
        Which leads us to the conclusion that we are “safe”, because, what are the chances?

      • We share death, pain, hunger and fear and actually every last molecule of our bodies…you’d think this would be self-evident at this stage in the evolution of the human mind…

        But the the obvious remains obscure to so many of us…Is it laziness, I wonder.

        Is it just that it’s so much easier to believe that life is about the acquisition and hoarding of the things we think we own.

      • I suspect it’s a little of both. We are lazy because it’s easy to do so. And we like to hoard things because it’s easy to look at these things and see what we have accomplished. They are physical manifestations of our perceived goals.

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