Packing for the Trip
Having been nearly immortal for a long time, I have concluded (but no, there’s never a conclusion, really, when we’re being honest) that human beings do well to pack some variation on those classic three questions in their luggage for the long haul: What is real? What is a human being, given what’s real? What should I do, being a human being, given what’s real?
Those are the questions. Don’t leave home without ‘em. (And don’t stay home without ‘em, come to that!)
Each big-little carbon-based creature we call human must find the answers. That’s difficult, yes. Yet every story you hear will be some answer to the questions. (Keeping in mind that stories are necessarily of the past and therefore work only partially in informing the present, the now.)
For me, the desert was real. In that desert were stories of a God who lived on a mountain.
And poverty. Poverty was real. Not the kind of poverty where you sit around and sob that you don’t have a boat or a beach house. The kind of poverty where you’re ashamed to be seen by rich folks. That kind of poverty.
And those stories of the God out there and in that feeling that there was something out there that wanted justice for everything in this world, I found what I should do as a human being given what is real.
That was my now. Built on stories that I had been told; built on stories I told myself.
For me, being human in that case meant working for justice for everything in this world.
Ergo and shazam, I had to put on my big-boy sandals and get to work for justice.