I was weary not of existing, but just of living today. I feel the need to do something drastic. To make up for all the things I didn't do and didn't say and didn't think.
Maybe faith is endurance even when your soul is a little groggy.
Once upon a time I turned eleven and I was scared to death.Ten is exciting. The first year in double digits, the thrill of fifth grade. Eleven is scary. One is practically grown up by eleven, on the slippery slope of tweendom. I’m the oldest kid of four, and in between changing my brother’s diapers I felt strongly my first-born responsibility streak maturing and my ambition flowering. That is, until my birthday came. Eyes soggy with tears, I mumbled to myself in the safe darkness of the after-bedtime hours, “I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to get old, I want to stay like this forever.” Fear of the unknown? Perhaps. But maybe it was more that I loved the present so much I couldn’t fathom it getting any better. It’s so much easier to dream about “growing up” than to actually do it.For years I resisted the inevitable growing up, clinging to what my mom called my “Peter Pan complex.” With each birthday I inwardly cringed, with each “teenaged milestone” I dug in my heels—I didn’t want to learn to drive, I didn’t want to get a job, I didn’t want to open a bank account, and, couldn’t I be homeschooled just another year? “I like the way things are now, I don’t want to get older.” I insisted. I loved my comfort zone, and was convinced that nothing wonderful could lie outside of it. I was satisfied with stunted living, I assumed that what I knew at the moment was as good as life could get.Then, for my British literature class freshman year, my teacher announced the class reading content, book pages for points. This class was larger than I had been used to (I’m home schooled, after all; a class of twenty kids was a novelty to me) and I was determined to find some way to stand out. The reading contest seemed like an easy way to do so. I started with J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, because I was an infatuated teenaged girl who had just seen the live action Peter Pan movie (staring dreamy Jeremy Sumpter) nearly a dozen times. If I may say so, sound logic!It was a really sad book. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the book itself was more delightful than I had been given reason to anticipate, but the knowledge that Barrie had written the book en memorandum of his mother’s delusional grief over her dead son who would never grow up, was sobering. An English proverb I have tacked on my bulletin board reads, “Do not regret growing older for it is a privilege denied to many.” Maybe there’s a reason we all grow up.One of my favorite lines from Peter Pan says, “When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility.” It’s exhilarating that I see the truth of that statement more each day. I’m so young, so foolish. I have been humbled by the realization that I don’t know all there is to know about living. Tomorrow might be different than today, and with it I will change, like-it-or-not. I can’t do what I was made to do if I maintain my comfortable distance from “growing up” forever. Change may not always be pleasant, but it will always be necessary.I’m finally ready to write my Bildungsroman. I’m ready to grow up some more.
WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?Plato: For the greater good.Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken's dominion maintained.Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I'll find out.Timothy Leary: Because that's the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.Douglas Adams: Forty-two.Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.Oliver North: National Security was at stake.B.F. Skinner: Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.Ludwig Wittgenstein: The possibility of "crossing" was encoded into the objects "chicken" and "road", and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.Aristotle: To actualize its potential.Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken- nature.Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.Salvador Dali: The Fish.Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.Epicurus: For fun.Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it.Johann von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.David Hume: Out of custom and habit.Jack Nicholson: 'Cause it (censored) wanted to. That's the (censored) reason.Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?Ronald Reagan: I forget.John Sununu: The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.The Sphinx: You tell me.Mr. T: If you saw me coming you'd cross the road too!Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately ... and suck all the marrow out of life.Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.Molly Yard: It was a hen!Zeno of Elea: To prove it could never reach the other side.Chaucer: So priketh hem nature in hir corages.Wordsworth: To wander lonely as a cloud.The Godfather: I didn't want its mother to see it like that.Keats: Philosophy will clip a chicken's wings.Blake: To see heaven in a wild fowl.Othello: Jealousy.Dr Johnson: Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have, you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the Need to resist such a public Display of your own lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.Mrs Thatcher: This chicken's not for turning.Supreme Soviet: There has never been a chicken in this photograph.Oscar Wilde: Why, indeed? One's social engagements whilst in town ought never expose one to such barbarous inconvenience - although, perhaps, if one must cross a road, one may do far worse than to cross it as the chicken in question.Kafka: Hardly the most urgent enquiry to make of a low-grade insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen.Swift: It is, of course, inevitable that such a loathsome, filth-ridden and degraded creature as Man should assume to question the actions of one in all respects his superior.Macbeth: To have turned back were as tedious as to go o'er.Whitehead: Clearly, having fallen victim to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.Freud: An die andere Seite zu kommen. (Much laughter)Hamlet: That is not the question.Donne: It crosseth for thee.Pope: It was mimicking my Lord Hervey.Constable: To get a better view.
"No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous." -Henry Adams