Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Clark Griswold: King of the Road

Life is more mysterious than it is concrete. Ask a wise man questions about purpose and meaning at five year intervals, and you will get different answers each time. We grow, we mourn, we change, we error, we lose, we cry, we graduate, we sleep, we win, we sing, we breathe, we multiply, and we ruin. And when we have done all of these things we cycle through again, feeling this time we surely know how it will work.

Liken life to cross country travel. If you drive on the main route long enough you will begin to recognize patterns. Congestion, merging lanes, changing speed limits, seasonal landscapes, accidents, etc. The road while continually changing remains strangely the same. Staying on it long enough will give you the delusion of expertise. You become so familiar with the way the road works that you consider yourself a guru. You stamp the side of your trailer with a “king of the road” sticker. You begin filling in the blank states of your trailer-side map with colorful versions that speak of conquest and you wait for the next obstacle to dodge. The once difficult obstacles become commonplace and the highway lulls us into a royal stupor.

Then comes your first 3 am detour, like Clark Griswold in East St. Louis the initial feelings are fear and self-protection. It is these rare turns that become the milestones of our lives. No neat sticker can communicate what happens during those strange and unplanned exits. But the exits are what make us. Our purpose, our personhood, our life is meant to be lived off of the road.
To celebrate the seasons when all was according to plan is not wrong, it is incomplete. The challenge of life is the centerpiece of its greatness. Our ability to embrace the challenge is proportionate to our ability to realize those lofty concepts of purpose and meaning.


Sarah Brant said...

I once broke down in east St Louis. Didn't realize I shoulda been scared till afterwards. Ha. Great piece, Vince. Love your writing. =)

Ben McBride said...

Well said man. Can a brotha' get more than one blog per 2 months? Please!

Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS said...

I'm a bit curious if the -2% bodyfat fits in with Griswold family vacation. Please advise.

Reminiscent of our convo here in SB. Good to hear again. You are my spiritual hero.