Grass Stains

Michael sent me this article Long Road to Adulthood is Growing Even Longer.

I’m going to sound so politically incorrect, but “What the Hell is Going On?”  Why do I feel like the people younger than I am, but still in my generation, are losing their freaking minds?

Everything is overanalyzed and just down right annoying. “I’m not sure I’m ready.” “Well, I need to weigh all the options.” Good God, what happened to being young and charging into life, stumbling, learning and getting back up and trying again.  No one is ever ready.  There will always be things you never thought of that will knock you square on your ass.

It seems like there is a large part of the population sitting on the sidelines.  Looking for the perfect spouse, but with these crazy weird standards that have nothing to do with being in love and building a life. Michael has beautiful eyes, but I swear I never sat and thought, “I want to marry someone that is 6′ and has deep blue eyes.”  It just happened that way.  Wham!!

I fell in love and that sent everything else in my life spinning.  I did my best to hold on to myself and we got married.  We had lean years where we had little money (our assets were not  in order when we fell in love) and we’ve hurt each other and made up, made children and every other messy thing that goes into a relationship.  If I sat analyzing the whole damn thing I’d still be sleeping at my Mom’s.  And that is exactly what I see in this article, people afraid and hiding behind school or their “standards”.

Life is not meant to be analyzed beforehand, that’s what we do when we’re old.  There are some wonderful statistics in this article.  I’m thrilled that over 50% of mothers have college educations. Great, but that only takes four years.  Why are people staying in college until they are 30?  I don’t get that, unless you’re scared to death to get out there.  Believe me, I don’t blame anyone for being scared.  Life scares that hell out of me most days, but I never knew there was a choice.  Time goes by and you want to get everything you can out of it. Right?

After reading this article I was reminded of a short story by Robert Fulghum (one of my all time favorite writers on the planet).  The story is below and I offer it to people sitting on the sidelines and waiting for the “right” time to do everything.

IN THE EARLY DRY DARK of an October’s Saturday evening, the neighborhood children are playing hide-and-seek. How long since I played hide-and-seek? Thirty years; maybe more. I remember how. I could become part of the game in a moment, if invited. Adults don’t play hide-and-seek. Not for fun, anyway. Too bad.

Did you have a kid in your neighborhood who always hid so good, nobody could find him? We did. After a while we would give up on him and go off, leaving him to rot wherever he was. Sooner or later he would show up, all mad because we didn’t keep looking for him. And we would get mad back because he wasn’t playing the game the way it was supposed to be played. There’s hiding and there’s finding, we’d say. And he’d say it was hide-and-seek, not hide-and-give-UP, and we’d all yell about who made the rules and who cared about who, anyway, and how we wouldn’t play with him anymore if he didn’t get it straight and who needed him anyhow, and things like that. Hide-and-seek-and-yell. No matter what, though, the next time he would hide too good again. He’s probably still hidden somewhere, for all I know.

As I write this, the neighborhood game goes on, and there is a kid under a pile of leaves in the yard just under my window. He has been there a long time now, and everybody else is found and they are about to give up on him over at the base. I considered going out to the base and telling them where he is hiding. And I thought about setting the leaves on fire to drive him out. Finally, I just yelled, “GET FOUND, KID!” out the window. And scared him so bad he probably wet his pants and started crying and ran home to tell his mother. It’s real hard to know how to be helpful sometimes.

A man I know found out last year he had terminal cancer. He was a doctor. And knew about dying, and he didn’t want to make his family and friends suffer through that with him. So he kept his secret. And died. Everybody said how brave he was to bear his suffering in silence and not tell everybody, and so on and so forth. But privately his family and friends said how angry they were that he didn’t need them, didn’t trust their strength. And it hurt that he didn’t say good-bye.

He hid too well. Getting found would have kept him in the game. Hide-and-seek, grown-up style. Wanting to hide. Needing to be sought. Confused about being found. “I don’t want anyone to know.” “What will people think?” “I don’t want to bother anyone.”

Better than hide-and-seek, I like the game called Sardines. In Sardines the person who is it goes and hides, and everybody goes looking for him. When you find him, you get in with him and hide there with him. Pretty soon everybody is hiding together, all stacked in a small space like puppies in a pile. And pretty soon somebody giggles and somebody laughs and everybody gets found.

Medieval theologians even described God in hide-and-seek terms, calling him Deus Absconditus. But me, I think old God is a Sardine player. And will be found the same way everybody gets found in Sardines-by the sound of laughter of those heaped together at the end.

“Olly-olly-oxen-free.” The kids out in the street are hollering the cry that says “Come on in, wherever you are. It’s a new game.” And so say I. To all those who have hid too good. Get found, kid! Olly-olly-oxenfree.

No one says it like Robert.  My thoughts from the laundry room.

Leave the Windows Open!

One thought on “Grass Stains

  1. wow! this is so inspiring! i am in a daze over this really. i needed to read this right now. i am so happy that i found you! you have made a profound positive current in my life. thank you my dear friend!

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