Naturally

20 Sep

A choose-your-own adventure book, for those of you deprived of such a pleasure, is a tale in which you are the main character. The story has several conditional sections, and at the end of each section, the story asks you to make a decision. If you choose (A) then go to page 14, and if you choose (B), go to page 17.

I adored these, as any control freak would.  I’ve suffered enough pain at the hands of enough fictional characters – it’s time I made a decision or two, right? But I wasn’t good at these as I should have been. That is, I knew how to use them, but I still persisted in abusing them.

Whenever I read a choose-your-own adventure story, I made very questionable decisions. Intentionally. There was one story where I was on an island with some group of people, and I had the choice to go exploring all on my own, or to follow the group like a good little boy scout.

What I saw was a way to be able to make thoughtless decisions without being punished.

So it never turned out well for me.

As far as “choosing my own adventure” went, I died, was sent home in disgrace, and was rushed to the emergency room more times than should have been necessary.

And I don’t think I was the only person who did this.

I mean, let’s be honest, I am part of the human species. Rules don’t agree with us very well. You may have heard of a young couple who lived long ago, and were given one rule? Something about not taking fruit from a forbidden tree? Remember that?

We’re related to these people.

Human nature has a few defining qualities. If you hang out with humans for too long, you’ll find a few patterns in our behavior.

One of those is that we cross lines. Have you ever noticed that as soon as you are told you can’t do something, you want to? If someone tells you to not look down, where do you look? If they tell you to not turn around, what do you? If they tell you not to go near that door, touch that door, or open that door, what do you do with that door?

Those of you who have seen M. Night Shamalayan’s The Village will recall a scene where a group of teenagers play a dangerous game. The teens go to the edge of the forbidden forest and one of them is dared to stand on the boundary between their village and the forest: the object is to see how long he can do it without getting too afraid and running off.

This game would be utter boredom if not for the “forbidden” factor. If it had been allowed, it wouldn’t have been fun. If you’ve been human for two or more years, than you have figured this out by yourself.

Another thing you’ve probably witnessed by now is that misery loves company (How do you think fandoms grow so fast?), even if the miserable person in question isn’t intentionally trying to get people to experience his feelings.

Half a second everyone – I’m going to embark on a rabbit trail that I promise applies to the topic at hand.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before, but dropping your iPod or mp3 player on a treadmill is utterly terrifying, comparable to having a poster fall off your wall in the middle of the night.

one second you’re relaxed, listening to The White Stripes, and all is well. The next second, your earbuds are torn mercilessly out of your head, the music is cut off with a sudden snap, and your fallen musical device threatens to trip you as it cartwheels off the treadmill, careening to its death.

By the time your brain processes the unfortunate situation, your adrenaline is pumping like you’ve been maliciously attacked, and, shaking, you look around to see who is watching you fail at life.

Everyone is.

This has happened to me more times than I would prefer, but yesterday it happened to someone else. I watched as his phone was brushed off of the tiny desk-like surface, and then proceeded to leap around under his feet until he had to jump off the moving belt to avoid it. He looked around to see who had seen him fail at life.

I averted my eyes until his gaze was far removed from my face.

Then I smiled like some sort of sadist.

I mean, come on, people, look me in the eye and tell me you’ve never been slightly comforted when someone else besides you struggles to push open a door marked “pull.”

That’s a thing, right? Tell me that’s a thing other people do.

Maybe I should move on.

Sometimes, as now, I wonder if my intense love for good fictional villains has driven me to villainy. But in this case, I think not. Misery does adore company. It’s in our nature, as are many things that are less than benevolent and/or humanitarian.

No one has to teach us how to take what’s not ours, to rebel, or break rules. We figure it out ourselves.

We’re human – we’re born broken and we live broken. This is not to say we’re hopeless or irredeemable; we have boundless capacity for good.

This just makes our good choices even better. So much of the time, they go against our nature. Under most circumstances, you will not make an offhand comment that makes someone’s day. You will not accidentally love someone. And when I say love, I don’t mean

I mean

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I’m not saying this because I’m fabulous at it. I’m human too, despite what you may have heard.

Love may not be the easy choice, or even the first choice, but love is the best choice a human can make, and the people who consistently choose it are the best humans.

And hey guys, Jesus loves you.

Pass it forward and love on.

Disclaimer: I will probably still smile if I see you trying to pull open a “push” door. Let’s not move too fast. 

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5 Responses to “Naturally”

  1. Wandering Ragamuffin September 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    I just…you’re a lovely person.

    Thanks for spreading love, and Love Himself.

    • Emory September 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      You are quite lovely yourself. God bless!

  2. Mockingbird September 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    I’m comforted to know I’m not the only person to frequently drop things while on the treadmill…I’m convinced that gravity is more powerful when you’re on the treadmill!

    • Emory September 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      This is SO true. Scares the living daylights out of me.

    • platycorn October 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      Dropping iPod on the treadmill…. scariest thing freaking ever.

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