Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Moments of Fleeting Joy

The great moments begin from little moments passing by, like the one a few weeks agao when my supervisor called me and some others into his office. I was worried at first that I had done something wrong, but it wasn’t about me. We were all in trouble.

“The facility is closing down,” he said. “It’s being deactivated and your jobs are being closed out.”

It was a money thing. It was a money thing seven years ago that had brought me to my little town and now the money thing was back. It always has a way of finding you, it follows you like the eye of God followed Cain across the wilderness in the Bible. By this time next year it will all be over.

So I’m job hunting again, and I may get something in my little town or it may be somewhere else, and that’s if I’m even that lucky at all. Sure I’m scared. I just tell myself that when the time comes I’ll know what to do.

I don’t write well when I’m scared and I told my bog mates I wouldn’t be able to come up with the goods pretty soon because I might be under some stress, but we all worked out it and thinned out the schedule here a little and we adapt.

In my experience love is about adapting. You marry someone but they turn out to be different from who you thought they were or who you thought you might love. So for the marriage to survive, you adapt. You change yourself, and love what there is to love and soon your ideas of love change.

In a town or a place, for someone like me who has never known a home, if you stay long enough you begin to adapt. You evolve to fit that place. Darwin’s famous expression “the survival of the fittest” is usually misunderstood to mean the survival of the strongest, as in physically fit. But that’s not what Darwin meant. His nineteenth century syntax of the word “fittest” means the way a key fits into a lock. Something that fits the most – the fittest. He went on to assert his observation that the species who continue over long periods of time are not the smartest, or the strongest. They are the ones who adapt most quickly to change. The ones who know how to fit.

I never wanted to live in this town. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Your next job is over there, if you want it. Yes sir, I believe I do want it. My life has been lived in that tumbleweed manner, not dealing in terms of who or what I want, but constantly fitting myself to what is put in front of me. I’m not sure that’s the right way to do things, but its too late now.

When you live in a place long enough, when you live with a person long enough, you find things. That little Chinese restaurant that always makes good food, the one down the street from the theater that shows last run movies for two dollars instead of ten. My church, my spiritual family of people with audacity and spiritual integrity, I’ve found them at last. That walking path by the Savannah. The water park for three dollars. A peach tree in the summer. The taste of home brew and smoked brisket. If you live in a place long enough and try to own it you reach that place within yourself where you begin to love your world and it begins to love you back. And then the news comes.

So I don’t know. Attachment causes suffering. Maybe I’ll get to stay. Maybe its not given to me to stay anywhere for long. But I think I know now what Heaven would be, if I could believe in such a place, which I do not. It would be that world that loves you back.


  1. I read your comment on Lisabet's entry that you worry you might be responsilbe for the changes. The conversation was there, waiting to be had. All you did was make it possible. So set aside your guilt.

    I'm sorry about the job. So many people I know are slowly twisting in a state of uncertainty. You'd think over the past three years I would have figured out something comforting (really meaningful, not a platitude)to say, but I haven't. But I will hope for you.

  2. Although I'm terribly sorry that you have to deal with the uncertainty of job hunting, overall I find this post heartening, and I hope that maybe you do too. I know that a small town in Georgia is not where you would have wanted to end up, if you'd been asked. And yet - and yet, you've found beauty, peace, pleasure there. You say it has changed you, and I suppose it has, but one important dimension of change is that you've learned how to ferret out the things that make this place worthwhile.

    And that should give you confidence. If you have to move somewhere else, you have the ability to do that. You can find the pearls in your new environment as well. And you won't have to just "survive" but you'll be able to flourish.


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