Do you remember how Kent and I went to a Cubs game for my birthday? We had great seats–a section or two back, almost midway between home and first. In one of the first few innings, a Phillies batter swung hard and just barely got a piece of the ball. But the bat slipped from his hands and spun wildly up into the crowd. Everyone pitched in to the collective “Oh!” as we waited, hoping nobody was horribly injured. I don’t know about all the other baseball fans, but I was convinced someone had a concussion, needed stitches, was knocked out, etc. My eyes didn’t leave the spot for about a minute–much longer after everyone’s curiosity had waned.
“That’s nuts,” I said to Kent. “A few seconds of terror, and then play resumes as normal.”
Things would have been so different if someone had been hit. It would be played back on ESPN, the game might pause, ambulances would come, a stretcher would be brought into the middle of the stadium, someone could even die…
But everything was okay, so nothing changed.
Fast forward two days, and you find me vegged out on my couch, eating Chipotle leftovers, and doing the various things I do on my laptop (i.e. everything. Seriously. Kent asked me one day if I would rather go the rest of my life without a car or laptop, and the answer was unquestionably a car). I must’ve been pretty engrossed in whatever Netflix episode it was, because the next thing I know salsa juice was spilling from those too-tiny plastic cups Chipotle puts it in. (I had to tip it to fit the chip in! If you don’t understand, it’s okay. Go back to eating your salads). I. Flipped. What if I had just broken my expensive laptop that I was hoping would last me until I was 65? If it wasn’t completely wrong for a Christian to say, I would say that my laptop is worth more than my soul. Again: I flipped. Over the years though, I’ve noticed that when I freak out, I’m strangely calm.
When I did a 270º spinout on black ice a few winters ago, the first thing I did was ask Mitch and Ashley if they were okay. In true mother hen form, I told them to be careful getting out of the car because the highway was still very busy and still more than a little bit icy. When I broke my pinky toe swimming at church camp, I simply sat on the edge of the pool for a bit, because I realized I couldn’t walk. And when I spilled salsa on my laptop, I noticed that only a little had actually gone into the edge of the trackpad, but the rest was simply sitting on top. I froze, unfroze, finished eating my chip, gently removed said laptop from lap, sprinted to get paper towel, and mopped it up. I waited for the moment of truth: would the screen flicker pitifully as it yielded to the power that is Chipotle deliciousness? Heck no. (Say what you will about Macs, but for now I’m more than pleased with its salsa-fighting capabilities).
All this, just to make a simple yet abstract point:
I think life is a lot like baseball bats in crowds and salsa on laptops. Things go wrong all the time, but who knows what’s going to be the one that makes a difference? Your neighbor runs a red light, your best friend hears a cruel rumor, someone fires a gun into a crowd, a frat brother takes your dissertation idea and runs with it. Life-threatening or not, mildly humorous or not, we never know what is just an occurrence and what will have continuous influence. Oftentimes, mere inches and seconds are what keep incidents from being accidents.
But can you imagine what would happen if we dwelt on what might go wrong or how something could have ended? My wardrobe of choice would be a haz-mat suit. I’d drive a tank. And that would be if I ever left the house. Like I said in the very first post–Precariosities Explored–we’re all going to fall at some point. Don’t wait in negative anticipation for those moments, because you’ll miss all the good ones that make up most of your days.
Life is waiting. All moments matter. Other cliche phrase.
Get out there and have a great day today, spilled salsa or not.
Before You Go
“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.”