Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The burning question

Have you ever had one of those "why am I here" moments? One of those moments when the world around you fades away and the quest for an answer to that question is the only thing you can think about? It's one of the most basic and commonly shared human experiences. In fact, it's one of the things that makes us human, this ability and need to ask this important question.

I'm not being philosophical here. I'm not talking about the meaning of life or finding my purpose. I'm talking about when you get up from your couch or your desk or your bed, and walk into another room for some reason, only to come face to face with the question: "Why am I here?"

I don't know about you, but for me these moments take confusing to a-whole-nother level. I stand there, filled with doubt, knowing there had to be a reason I went into the kitchen yet unable to conjure it up. Am I thirsty? Did I think I needed a drink of water? Was I supposed to get something out of the freezer to thaw? Did I want to sweep the floor? I don't know. I don't know!

Sometimes these moments move beyond confusion into the realm of terror. You know what I'm talking about. You're standing in the living room, looking around like you've never seen this place before, and fear begins to wrap its clammy hands around your heart. What if I was supposed to do something important? What if I never remember? What if I'm losing my mind?

When the fear grips me, I retrace my steps, hoping to jog my memory. Hoping to return to the concrete world of reliable reality. Sometimes retracing my steps works and I just slap my forehead with a "whew!" and laugh at myself for being scatterbrained. Other times, the retracing only sends me deeper and deeper into the dimension of forgotten intentions. Now I'm doubting whether I even HAD a reason for leaving my desk. Now...I'm doubting whether I even have a desk.

As Alice in Wonderland knows, going too far down the rabbit-hole can lead to unintended consequences, so when no amount of retracing can help me remember what I was doing, I do what any logical, sane person would do. I assume the fetal position and wait for the moment to pass. And it always does. The sun comes back out. The birds sing again. Life goes on.

But always, in the back of my mind, some deep part of my spirit hopes that I will one day solve the mystery of why I was there. Why am I here? Because seriously, I wouldn't have just gotten up from the couch for no reason.

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