The other edge

I only write about two things: life and death. I’m not an expert in either. But, on the other hand, I know nothing else. I play this game because I was born a piece of plastic on a cardboard square. There is an inner knowing that urges me to get to the other side, like in checkers. But there are rules and I can’t walk in a straight line. There are obstacles. Sometimes it isn’t my turn; sometimes I’m blocked; sometimes I make a dumb move.  But I never forget the edge on the other side. I don’t know why I have to go there. I’m not sure how to get there. (But it seems to be by trial and error.) I don’t know when I’ll get there, nor what I will find.

Out of nowhere I bloomed into a plastic chip on a checkered board. I’m not alone. In fact we are billions. And we’re all going to the other side. The squares are a never-ending sea all around me. I want to go forward but can only move sidewise like a crab. Maybe the more crooked our path, the deeper our understanding of the game.

It isn’t always easy to push forward. My only motivation being a faint feeling that I am here to get to there. No pawn knows more or less than his brother. Some write books, others give talks and it’s great. But actually we all come with the same two components: a built-in compass and an inner knowing. All the rest is just sugar coating.

There is a vague sense of being miniscule, maybe microscopic, on a tiny square of a teeny board drifting about in a timeless, formless vastness. It can kind of make you feel queasy. The stomach’s fortitude during the crossing correlates to your faith in the edge on the other side. I can’t see it. I just know it is there. And I know that it is good. (Some people drop the second o.)

An entire world can be created in just one square. An epic novel can be written in just one square. A fortune can be made in one square and lost in another. Love can be found, then lost on your next move. The problem with moving from one square to another is that we never know what we will step into next.

With faith you go forth knowing that, no matter what the square contains, it can in no way hinder your journey to the other edge. The good, like the bad, isn’t really good or bad, it is just a square on the board. I look down at my shaking arrow and push forward sideways.

Without faith we can get stuck on a square and turn it into a lifetime. We might stay on a square because someone once said we didn’t have what it takes to move on (not realizing that the pronouncement came from just another chip with no special powers or knowledge). We can get stuck because we get scared… stiff. We get stuck because it’s so much easier to know where you are than where to go. We can get stuck because, even if it doesn’t feel very comfortable, it seems really safe.

Actually, we are never stuck because, no matter what, ready or not, like it or not, the other edge is. That you get to row two or three is of no consequence. The other edge is no matter where you are.

We are all born with one body and two brains. The first, up in headquarters, calculates, counts, formulates opinions, worries about tomorrow and never forgets yesterday. The second, in the gut, digests what is (no matter what the taste) and always knows where to go. We come with two brains but can only choose one master.

So stay tight where you are if you want. I wish you well. I’m going to continue to push forward sideways with my compass in hand and my faith in good. (Some people pronounce it God.) That is all I ever have. That is all there ever is.

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