Make A Documentary [on Flawed Wednesday]

Skip suggested that I make a documentary film about our neighborhood. With the recent car explosion across the street, the Jacob Blake protests (martial law, riots, et.al), the mockery-of-a-trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the retrial of the anti-freeze murder, and the most recent excitement: a water line repair crew accidentally cut the gas line to the house next door to the car-explosion-house. All of this and a pandemic, too!

I quipped that my documentary would be titled “Calamity Vortex.” Petticoat Junction. Green Acres. Black gold, Texas tea…

Perhaps it’s not a documentary but a sitcom that I should create! Including us, there are plenty of good characters in the neighborhood to exaggerate. I’d go with a reality t.v. program but I fear sitting around waiting for the next disaster might not make scintillating television. Although, doesn’t it seem that is what we are doing in the age of climate change. Kentucky is underwater. The west is on fire, setting new records established just last year. Britain and parts of India are baking. And what about those hurricanes and tornadoes? How many once-in-1000-year-events does it take before we acknowledge the new norm?

Where does one draw the defining line of “my neighborhood”?

When the gas line was cut and explosion seemed imminent, I was delighted that several firetrucks pulled up in a matter of minutes. They kept us safe. While sitting far enough away to clear the gas-headache, I marveled that we are very good at responding to disaster but not so great at preventing it. Some things are accidental, of course, but global warming is not. It is – or was – preventable.

Perhaps my documentary film – or tv series – or reality tv program – would attract more viewers if the conceit was a neighborhood of people causing their own problems and then, while racing to clean up the mess, they ask “How could this happen?”

It would be a comedy, of course.

read Kerri’s blogpost about FIRETRUCKS

Sit On The Curb [on DR Thursday]

As much as our wily-ole brains would like us to believe otherwise, we can be nowhere else but in the present. Everything else is imagination.

Years ago I belonged to a support group of independent consultants. We met once a month to discuss our business challenges, insights, and to give and receive some advice. One of the members of the group was a Byron Cady coach. I have no memory of the discussion that prompted her to offer this Byron-thought-metaphor: “If your house burns down, rather than race around in panic, the best thing you can do is sit on the curb and appreciate the moment.”

To the consumer-mind, wisdom often sounds like bad advice. That you are alive, that you have this moment, means that no real possession was lost. The question is, in the face of calamity, what will you make of the moment?

Brother Joseph told the story of holding a woman wearing expensive furs, each finger was diamond encrusted, as she died on the street. He was, in the moment, overwhelmed by the worthlessness of her stuff. The illusion of value once life has gone.

Life. This moment. Calamity is certain to come. Sit on the curb and see what is there, beyond what you think is there.

We’ve had our share of adversity these past few years. I would like to report that we laughed heartily in the face of lost jobs and broken wrists and pandemic madness and civil unrest. We did not. We shook our fists at the sky. We made up words and ran loops like Chicken Little. We invested in all manner of fear-of-the-future and ran from monsters-of-the-past. None of our racing around or fist-shaking brought comfort or change.

But, the moments that we took a breath, walked a trail or sat on the back deck and listened to the cardinals and crows, sipped hot coffee on cold mornings, held hands – sat on the curb and appreciated the undeniable truth of our moment: we have everything. We have this moment – the only moment of life that we’ll ever inhabit. We have each other. The rest, the fear of future, demons of the past, are pure imagination. In those moments, wrapped in a circumstance of calamity, we laughed at the beauty of it all.

read Kerri’s blog post about LAUGH IN THE FACE OF CALAMITY