The Hurrier I Go, The Behinder I Get

What’s the hurry?
If we always sped to the next moment of our lives, would we ever actually experience the moment we are in? Or would every passing second slip through our fingers, losing it’s meaning because of our rush to prepare for the unreachable future, ever eluding us, ever being chased over fences to greener pastures, ever dangling just out of grasp. To fully live the present in service to the future is to live both pieces half-heartedly.

We rush through lives lived at a hundred miles an hour, dodging, ducking, and weaving past obstacles clotting the paths we race down. We set our sights high, aiming so steep, up past the moon and into the stars aims our shot. We scramble and scrape to climb up ankles, knees, swollen stomachs, chests, barreled arms, necks and crooked heads to launch into this far off place. We do not notice where we place our hands during the terrifying climb, only contemplating the next step and grip, one after another, reeling up the way with eyes fixated on the peak.

We forget to see what the ledges and footholds are made of, the parts that support our tumultuous ascent. In our hurry, we scurry at speed up the cliff sides, tackling each rise that billows up before us. Such ambition is beautiful, exhilarating, inspiring — and yet, oblivious. Jutting our hands and feet into any crack that fits on the relay up the wall, spearing, grappling, groping, molding and tightening, reaching as far as we allow our muscles to extend, swinging our arms and legs up over and over, as hard and fast as we can.

We hurry in our impatience to climb our cliffs, slipping and hoping for a catch when we fall. We clash with the wall, and it breaks once more, leaving us left in the mud. Soiled and broken from climbs and pulls that weaken our shoulders and crack our ribs. Sitting in the soaking sludge slows down time’s passing. It sends our gaze up the sheer we have crushed ourselves against and beckons our eyes to see what bits and pieces make up the towering rise we mean to climb.

Faces, elbows, forearms and hair, fingers and toes, eyes, ears, and a nose over there. Images of people we know and love, their faces contorted in anguished frowns, brightened smiles, and nervous stares. Mashed among their figures, we see dollar bills, coins, cars, wheels, gems and jewels, and televisions, all playing moments out from our lives lived before, from climbs we’ve already made, trials we have already emerged from.

We scour the front of our blended cliff, peeling over every jutting edge, viewing faces we have wronged, faces we have fought for, faces we have lost, and faces we care about. We bathe in the mud, the result of our impatience, and see all of what builds up our lives — carved, crammed, and packed into this harrowing wall of humanity.

We stand, brushing as much thickened muck as able from our clothes, approaching our wall again. With eyes that have memorized the peak, what it can look like from the bottom of the mountain, we keep our gaze upon the wall before us. A thoughtful climb — reaching out to grab an edge that now, we see, could be someone’s nose, neck, or naval.

Instead of rushing the bank’s face, we wrap our hands and feet around places they may find more sturdy, more reliable, and more aware. Instead of bristling up the peak, jamming our hands and feet into the mouths, eyes, crotches and armpits of every person and thing that sustains our lives, we take one extra moment to wrap our fingers around the outstretched hands that now seem plentiful, hoping to help. Hands that have always been there, always planted into the rocky wall we were made to climb, reaching out in aid.

We just never slowed down long enough to look away from our prized possession, our moon-shot peak, to learn how to treasure the moment we’re already in.

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