When I have time on my hands, I try to squeeze the moments into a softball-sized orb but like particles of sand, the individual instances won’t stick together. Eternity may be circular, but apparently, my life is not. It’s entirely up to me how to use my time, but it won’t roll up like a river rock or a bowling ball, I can’t hold on to it, and it won’t come by again. This adds an unwelcome gravity to my choices.
Volition is a terrible curse. It’s right up there with self-awareness, God, and the nutritional labels on packaged foods. Humans have debated the correct basis for making the right choices for as long as they could articulate the question.
“But can you articulate the question even now?” asks the Issuer of All Questions as he stomps snow off his boots and sniffs the air.
To my chagrin, my hands smell like liquid nails, creosote, and chlorine—all toxic. There are plastic containers and dried brushes on my counter. I’m doing laundry with warm water and fabric softener, eating chocolate laced with lead. I designed our house to let the sun warm it, but there are days when the sun doesn’t shine. My carbon footprint remains larger than my feet.
“Probably not,” I admit. “But I ask a lot of questions. That’s safer than locking down on one anyway, right?” I’m trying to shelve the chronic shame I feel for various shortcomings and hypocrisies. “
“I hate to say this, little buddy, but that sounds like rationalization,” the Issuer says. This could come across as judgmental, but I know him better than that. He’s just trying to help.
“Of course it is,” I admit. “But then, why do I have this brain?
The Issuer smiles. Wrinkles upon wrinkles define and deepen the beauty I’ve come to expect from that weathered face.
“That’s a fair question,” he says gently. “But here’s a better one: Why do you have that heart?”