Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Life is more than words

While driving recently, I noticed several bumper stickers that seem to follow the same pattern:  a summing up of life in three words.  "Eat. Sleep. Fish." was on the back of a pick-up truck.  Another read, "Live, Laugh, Garden."  Of course, these three-word mantras made me think of the recent best-seller:  "Eat, Pray, Love."  All of the sudden, it's become trendy to reduce life to three simple words.

Why?  Most of us wish life were that simple, tidy, clean (wink, wink).  By our word smithing, we make the complexities of every-day living sound poetic, pure, elemental (wink, wink again).  The triplet evokes a rhythm, an underlying premonition that all things must be triadic.  Indeed, the formula for the oldest jokes in the world followed a three-fold pattern:  1, 2, punchline.  By telling the story of our lives in threes, we unknowingly claim the last word(s)--a superlative description for which there is no argument.  Imagine how funny it would sound to say, "Oh yeah?  Well life is more than eat, pray, love.  There's also work and hobbies and fun and . . . ."  No one wants to be that guy.

But here's my problem:  I don't want my life to be reduced to words, especially only three.  I want a life for which there are no words.  I want mystery and wonder and confusion and hope and questions and challenge and . . . .  In fact, if life could be summed up with mere words, I don't think I would want it.  I think I would lose too much:  a sense of curiosity, an aching for more, an inclination for the divine, a restlessness that is holy.  That's why I need music.  That's why I hanker for silence.  I crave taste and touch, sight and intuition.  Sometimes I need . . .  I need . . .  I don't know what I need.  But, I do know this:  I need a life that is more than words.

But, how do I put that on a bumper-sticker?

1 comment:

jesnicole said...

I have been thinking along some of these same lines lately. It's interesting how much I've seen myself and others want to talk, debate, and ponder this life...instead of living it. Of course good can come from all that. But we can't spend all of our time talking about living.

As always...great post, Dr. Reeves.