Posted by: Stephen Paul | August 23, 2007

Build a house of sand

I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing this, using earplugs to block out the sound–as best I can–of a compressor and staple gun Archie (a very nice guy) is using to install much-needed new floors in my office and bedroom. Last night Jackie and I slept on a futon amidst stacks of our possessions in the living room. It’s disruptive and awkward, but we’re working around it. We actually slept quite well.

Yesterday Jackie kidded me (no doubt after I complained about something) saying, “If you think this is bad, what do you think it’ll be like when economic, social, political, or climate changes really disrupt our lives? In fact, just imagine what it’s like right now for the people coping with huricane Dean or the flooding in the Midwest.

It’s impossible for me to even imagine. My heart goes out to those people.

I’m so accustomed to my comfortable bed, the space where I meditate, my workspace, and the peace and quiet of my house that I complain at even this relatively minor inconvenience. I can’t imagine what it would be like not to know where my next meal would be coming from, or not to know where to go to get out of the elements. I’m spoiled and complacent, and I know it.

I know things are going to change in our culture. It’s hard to face, but I know this easy, self-indulgent lifestyle I’m accustomed to is eroding before my eyes. I prepare–minimally–for what what I consider to be certain disruption, but since I don’t really know what form that disruption will take, I don’t really know what to prepare for it. Besides, when major events occur, they produce shocking consequences far beyond my ability to imagine–until I experience them personally.

 I’m glad my life is turned upside down right now. When I put it back together, I’ll do it as if I were constructing a sand mandala or a castle on the beach, knowing full well that one day it will all be brushed or washed away.

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