Tuesday, August 11, 2009

post 2: because this time is all you have

From Prot (Kevin Spacey) K-PAX: Prot: I wanna tell you something Mark, something you do not yet know, that we K-PAXians have been around long enough to have discovered. The universe will expand, then it will collapse back on itself, then will expand again. It will repeat this process forever. What you don't you know is that when the universe expands again, everything will be as it is now. Whatever mistakes you make this time around, you will live through on your next pass. Every mistake you make, you will live through again, & again, forever. So my advice to you is to get it right this time around. Because this time is all you have. 

Get it right this time around.

Because this time is all you have.

One of the best films i have ever seen: Spacey delivers an acting master class: and the script is all killer no filler. 

The above passage makes for an uncomfortable read and a timely reminder every time you read it or see the film - or burn it into your brain so it becomes part of your walkin' talkin' MO: for as as far as i know - we do only get one shot: and this one shot at life is to all intents and purposes us 'living it through; again and again, forever'.

We are so ill informed: 

This life should come with some kind of health warning at birth; maybe on a laminated card? or delivered in a forthright manner  - one that we understand immediately: even though we've only just put in our first appearance: something along the lines of; 'you - yeah you - pay attention - we'll remove the umbilical cord while you get your act together - you only get one shot at this - and you wouldn't believe the amount of folks thru the ages who've blown it big time:

here's the list of assorted fools, delinquents and border line mental cases from the annals of history for your perusal and reference: now repeat after me  - just so we're all clear on this:

Get it right this time around. (Get it right this time around)

Because this time is all you have. (Because this time is all you have).

What I'm angling for in all this is: do we get it when we've just received a wisdom lesson: or do we continue to stumble through the same old stuff: because we're a little too dense to be anything more than pack mules?

'A man can't ride your back unless it's bent'. Martin Luther King said that. We should get that on a laminated card at birth too: or be taught it from a very young age by our folks - or whoever is charged with our early education and upbringing..

I refuse to have a bent back. my dad taught me that. Probably with a little less eloquence than MLK and a little more by way of head on cockney street fighter freight train attitude: but the message went home:

A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.

And I refuse to have a bent back.

My dad ran the family - he was the alpha dog: the leader of the Brooks clan: until in later years, where the roles have now changed because of his age: I have to a large extent become his parent:

MLK also said this: A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. 

So to the mindsets the thought processes  and the questions:

Do you have a bent back?

Do you remember the last time you had one?

And how it made you feel?

Do you wanna feel like that over and over again?

Who has taught you well?

Who has taught you badly?

Which thought processes passed onto you work work for you?

Which ones didn't?

Did you see the emperor's new clothes?

Or are you the emperor? - and would you believe it if anyone told you?

Are you a pack mule?

Do you have a bent back?

Do you go with the crowd: in a Zelig like manner? 

Or do you take the day. the hour, the mindset and the prevailing thought process  / zeitgeist to hand; grab it by the scruff of the neck and set about building the consensus? 

If the choice is either turning over the money lenders tables in the temple, or keeping the peace for want of upsetting the apple cart: which one do you do?

Because this time is all you have




i await your stories, mindsets and thought processes with a barely contained anticipation


Anonymous said...

Your comments cover the huge body of thoughts and reflections about our response to the situations and challenges we face in life. Chuck Swindoll noted the great importance of how attitude determines how we respond and the outcomes that we experience. Kind of a no-brainer when one is self-aware, secure and confident. Amazingly, it's those darn and often unsolictied challenges that produces attitude and confidence. Learned how to fight the hard way by getting physically beat up as a kid. But also learned that failure simply means you have to get up and try again. When you do that, at a certain point you begin to understand the expand-collapse pattern. Things are constantly in motion. The only thing that is constant is change. And sometimes it is incumbent upon you to be that change agent. My motivation is yet another of Martin Luther King's sayings:

Most people are thermometers that record or register the temperatures of majority opinion, not thermostats that transform and regulate the temperature of society.

Sometimes you just gotta be that thermostat and help make the temperature suitable for maintaining sanity! Make it count. Make a difference.

motorcityguvnor said...

love the expand-collapse pattern as a mindset

thanks for the insight: the MLK thermostat / thermometer quote is pure gold

Heidi said...

This is challenging! I like it.

It brings to mind something that a lecturer talked about during my teacher training (he's also a life coach).

It's the idea of the positive or negative worldview. I won't attempt to describe it myself, but I found this handy definition:


It struck a chord at the time, because I think that I'm prone to viewing things with a negative slant. Not a pessimist, but a worrier. Up until recently, I think my worldview may have been that life is essentially hostile - something to be scraped through, avoiding catastrophies wherever possible by following the past of least resistance.

I hope that this is changing. I think it is, because I find myself embarking on things that I never would have before.

Love the thermometer/thermostat concept - it gave me goosebumps.

F. Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
F. Adams said...

Get it right this time around, because this time is all you have?" Are you kidding? I had to post this comment twice just to get it "right" the first time. Good luck with getting it right the first time.

Learning from mistakes is a divine gift and opportunity. If we are to be perfect (mistake free), then why do we need a Divine Teacher in Christ?

Here is an interesting idea: Have you have learned all you need to learn in life? Have you fulfilled your life purpose? Did you wake up this morning? If you woke up today, the answer to the first two questions may be no. However, who is the Judge in such matters?

If we were perfect, then why would we need forgiveness? Why would we need to be saved? "I was born a slave to sin, but now my soul's been born again . . . " Remember the chorus?

As far as having a bent back goes, I think of Christ dragging a cross, wearing a crown of thorns . . . Talk about a bent back. Nobody wants a bent back. At times, it is what life provides . . . and what we need in helping to carry each other's burdens . . . and as followers of Christ we also bear weight of the cross.

The Shaker's address the virtue of bending in this amazing song from the 1800s, "Simple Gifts".

"It's a gift to be simple,
a gift to be free.
'It's gift to come down
where we ought to be.

When we find ourselves
in the place just right,
We'lll be in the valley
of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to BEND
we will not be ashamed,
To turn and to turn
will be our delight,
For by turning and turning
we come out right."

I praise Father, Son, Holy Spirit for the gifts of this day: joys, sorrows, blessings, burdens . . .

I pray for the strength to carry on with a bent back . . .

I pray for you as well. I pray that you can find rest and peace in Christ!

F. Adams said...

PS I look at the "revised" post and find more errors.

In writing rough documents are drafts.

In music rough ideas are demos or scratch mixes.

In life errors are human . . . and forgiveness divine.

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of what I constantly told my kids when they were growing up: "Don't let life just happen to you. If you don't make choices and decisions for yourself, someone else will make them for you and you can't complain about it when they do!".

Ironically, it wasn't until I became a christian that got a "bent back". Out of my devotion to the Lord I submitted to the tutelage of people in my church who were "older and wiser" than me. These people were solid christians back then and most are pastoring churches now. They were all pretty successful in their lives, but unfortunately didn't know much outside of their sphere and didn't understand me or my potential one bit. While I value much of what I learned from them, there was a point where I found myself chronically unhappy and deeply unsatisfied with my life. No matter how well I followed the "advice" of my spiritual mentors, I seemed to always end up falling on my face. It wasn't until the Lord Himself spoke to me and told me to stop listening them that I really took ownership of my life. I made a lot of mistakes and there was a fair amount of head wagging and rolling of the eyes among those people that I had so looked up to, but my resolve was unwavering.

Looking back on it, that was a real turning point for me. Had I not "broken free" back then, I doubt I would even be serving the Lord today.


rabbsn said...

“Do you go with the crowd in a Zelig manner?” For those of you who don’t know Mike’s Zelig reference, like me, Zelig was a character in a Woody Allen film who had the ability to transform his appearance to the that of the people who surround him. A psychiatrist (played by Mia Farrow) hypnotized Zelig and found that “Zelig yearns for approval so strongly that he physically changes to fit in with those who surround him”.-wikipedia Great reference!

After my first read through of Mike’s Blog 2 and tyrone’s great MLK quote about thermometers or thermostats, I got to thinking that we are all put together so differently. Some of us are born “street fighters” or “thermostats”, and some of us are born blissfully ignorant of the battles that surround us.

But then I started thinking of people like Corrie Ten Boom, who was a simple female watchmaker in the Netherlands who helped her Jewish neighbors escape from certain death during the Nazi occupation in the 1940s. Corrie was living a quiet life until injustice knocked at her door and she decided to become a thermostat.

Or take Mother Teresa who was living a simple life as a Roman Catholic nun until injustice knocked at her door and she found herself compelled to care for the sick and dying people on the streets of Calcutta.

Maybe we aren’t all born “street fighters” or “thermostats”. I don’t think MLK or Corrie ten Boom or Mother Teresa thought they were born “fighters” either. But when injustice knocks at our door, we have a choice to make. Will we choose to continue living in ignorant bliss or will we choose to become a “fighter”, a “thermostat” of change?

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute Rose - it sounds like you are saying that although not all of us are born "street fighters" we can all fight injustice, each in his/her own way. That can't be right. We must all choose one battle and all fight for it in the same way.

Otherwise you would have one set of believers devoting their efforts to caring for God's creation, while another group stands up against the destructive moral relativism of our culture, while yet another is off teaching inner city kids how to read.

You don't really mean to suggest that we can each have different responses to injustice and still be following God, do you?


motorcityguvnor said...

i just love it when folks respond to the questions; and all of you with such great insight and passion

long may the dialog continue - 'cos i'm up for the learning

my intention is to just set the dialog up - light the blue touch paper if you will - stand well back and watch the fireworks - the mindsets - the thought processes kick in - as we all dialog - we all learn - or re-learn that which we had forgotten - or maybe look at something from a new angle

most of life is both/and

and not either/or

it is simpler if it is either/or - isn't it?
alas - most of the time it would apear not to be so for most of us

so thank you Fritz for reminding us all of Jesus carrying a cross with a bent back - that's the supreme example - I'm not for one moment advocating that we live life as bully boys - or girls- i'm just asking the question

when is the situation in your - or my life - black or white?

and when is it a little more grey?

so that maybe the road to travel is a little less clear than we might have hoped for?

so much of life is bittersweet and therefore 'both/and' - rather than either/or

Jesus turned over the money lenders tables in the temple - He also carried the cross with a bent back and in the garden sweat like drops of blood fell from Him as He set his face like flint for what lay ahead

this is why context is so important

if we only see jesus as a little baby - meek and mild - we may form an impression of jesus based solely upon this image and story

and we end up with a meek and mild sovereign

if we see just see Jesus as someone running amuck in the temple - and take that as the one example to follow - which would therefore make the example one that was out of context in relationship to his whole life -and see him maybe as someone who liked to start a riot?

but in context within the moment in space and time wherein it actually happened - he did probably raise a few eyebrows....

So context requires some sum total of a story - for it to make sense - i don't like watching films from half way thru - heck i don't even like watching a film that started a minute ago - i want the WHOLE STORY - so I am better informed

better informed

less likely to judge - one hopes

and more likely to make my initial response one of; I need to understand - so please help me to help you:

can i facilitate change?

can i advocate on your behalf?

can i just hang with ya?

thanks to all for the posting

can we keep the dialog going?

i'm up for the learning




F. Adams said...

. . . “So much of life is bittersweet” . . . Isn’t it profound that we can feel joy in times of sadness? Emotion and feeling can overwhelm in a singular manner or coexist in multiplicity . . . example: “I am devastated by the loss of a loved . . . while I am happy to know that they are in a better place, and that their suffering has ended.”

The joy of the Lord is my strength, the world can’t take it away . . . The world certainly presents plenty of opportunity to take it away . . . it’s all around us . . . but so is Spirit . . . Joy!

. . . “Context requires some sum total of a story for it to make sense: If we only see Jesus: . . . as a little baby, we end up with a meek and mild sovereign . . . as someone running amuck in the temple, we end up with someone who liked to start a riot . . .”

The context of the entire Jesus story for me is that it is the beginning . . . you and I are the next part of the story: we are precious members in the body of Christ, each with our own talents and contributions (Acts). With help of Holy Spirit we are capable of miracles equal to, or greater than Christ . . .

“Can I facilitate change?” Who can stop it?

“Can I advocate on your behalf?”

 Yes, please; and me on your behalf

“Can I just hang with ya?” Any time!

rabbsn said...

Ralf, your point about us all learning to fight against injustice the same way reminded Craig of this quote:

"When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

Then they locked up the social democrats, 
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists, 
I did not protest;
I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
 I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me".

--Martin Niemöller