“Joy is not an escape from reality’s hard edges, not a privilege of the few or a luxury to be allowed once the hard work is done. It’s a life-giving, resilience-making human birthright.”—Krista Tippett
I loved this essay by a friend of mine who describes himself as “Holder of lots of jobs, author, coach, nice guy.” I asked Dunn (see his bio below) if I could share here on the blog. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
A Perspective on All This
Sometimes God gets to call a time out, and while high school coaches get either 30 or 60 seconds, the Man gets as long as He needs, as long as it takes.
Why this? Why now? To me, something had to do it and if not now, when? And if not this, then what? We’ve been crippled before – we survived Ebola and Y2K – and we’ll never forget the days of September 11th.
Still, I recall September 12th, when perfect strangers hugged on the streets, when there were two-minute standing ovations to the National Anthem when the games began again. Now, as I’ve written, some don’t even bother to stand anymore.
For some reason, we were chosen – we were the winning sperm cells – we get to play. We’ve enjoyed piano recitals and 4th of July celebrations, competing win, lose, or draw. We’ve got to cry good tears and bad – fair and unfair – and quite frankly, we get to participate. I have to let that sink in as I write it – for some reason, we GET to participate!
We appreciated all this after 9-11 – for a while – and then we became a phone-staring culture – Screenagers as great writer Tom Greene wrote. We spent all this time doing and doing and doing and waiting for our next email while the world went unappreciated and our souls got corroded in the process.
I sit now in an empty school – not one student in here that needs to get a copy made, or to go to the bathroom, not one kid is flirting with another, there’s that lethal silence where there’s supposed to be slamming lockers, chirping voices, a Smart Board delivering some message.
We are on our knees – it’ll probably get worse before it gets better. Obviously, it’s time we take care of our bodies, though I contend it’s time to take care of our souls. I sit in an empty classroom, waiting in wonderful impatience for the next time 22 kids pile in here – all filled with piss and vinegar and life and dates and agendas.
I write crippled as you are – on my knees and with scabs that are getting worse. But I still write in gratitude. We have survived before. We will survive again. Life is here and for some reason, we were chosen to play.
Okay, so who the hell am I? Do I think I’m God’s gift? Yes, I do. And SO ARE YOU! Damn it, SO ARE YOU!
It’s time we appreciate that fact, take care of it, mentally and physically.
And in closing, I picture the day – not far away – when these halls refill, priceless smiles everywhere, the sounds of laughter replacing this God-awful silence.
I love that thought. And I choose to love this life.
Today, I’ll reboot my spirits instead of my computer. And I can’t wait to see you all again, cellphones be damned…Dunn, James Dunn
Dunn Neugebauer is the author of two books – Funny Conversations with God, and Rock Bottom, Then Up Again (and other spiritual essays). He lives and works in Atlanta as a Sports Information Director, Upper School sub, cross country and track coach, and football announcer. When not at school, he reads, writes, runs, and works crossword puzzles for sanity sakes.
Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World).