Jekyll Island; GA
“Maybe it is because we know everything is impermanent that we so desperately cling to it. . . And the more we cling, the more pain we feel as things fade, disappear, die around us.” - John Parkin
“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.” - Harold Wilson
Certain of my human weaknesses are displayed to me with regularity on the road. One of them is the fear of the unknown. The last week I was around St. Simon’s Island in Georgia, and in the course of my visit forged a number of good relationships. The people were warm and friendly – I was invited into homes for meals and even had a fellow invite me into his house to stay a couple of nights. I had found a hot-tub that was easy to use, and the local Starbucks has an outside porch with the wi-fi on all night. Starbucks wi-fi rocks – I can upload the thirty or so photos in about five minutes, where normal wi-fi can take a couple of hours. So, the time to move on down the coast comes, and I find myself, once again, clinging. What if I don’t meet anyone, or meet some big resistance? What if there is nothing to write about, and even if there is, how will I post the articles and photos? On and on it goes . .
It is worse than that. In the past I have found a particular spot to park the van and sleep where there are conveniences close by. The next thing you know I am twenty miles down the road trying to rationalize returning there for the night – when the next day I have to move on ANOTHER twenty miles. And what am I clinging to? A HOTEL PARKING LOT !!
As I look back at my life I have clung to all manner of undesirable things. I have clung to undesirable jobs, bad habits, cars that keep breaking down – I have clung to old shoes and clothes that have long outlived their usefulness. I even clung to a terrible marriage to the point it almost killed me.
Perhaps we can realize that it is part of the human condition to fear change so much that we will cling to familiar pain to avoid it. We will cling to familiar pain to the point that it becomes misery – and beyond, all to avoid the risk of the unknown. We get inured into tolerating all manner of things that we never signed up for in the first place – all because of our fear of change.
And tonight? Of course I am now on Jekyll Island. I have found wi-fi, a hot tub, a heated pool and showers to use. I have met several people who are excited about helping me develop stories the next two days – and I am excited to be here. As is always the case, we look back in hindsight and ask ourselves what the big deal was. But after a year of doing this – in almost 200 different locations – I still cling. Maybe I never will learn to let go of anything without leaving finger-nail marks in it . . .
Today, may I act in the face of my fears.
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