Life, God and Carpet Installation
I spent most of my 20's on my knees installing carpet. My brother Tom, our truck and tools would accompany me on my pilgrimage from city to city and eventually from house to house. Often we would be greeted at the door by a beaming couple brimming with excitement over the fact that our arrival meant that their endless remodeling Odyssey was finally at an end.
Inevitably they would insist on giving us the Cook's Tour of their home spun home improvements replete with stories of how it all came about.
These tours always left me feeling sweetly melancholy and sad. Why? Because to a man and woman they were invariably wonderful people who had obviously worked long and hard on the remodeling. Yet their work was also almost invariably cheap, garish, and tawdry. The plastic faux wood grain paneling always seemed to ripple like the ocean rather than be flush to the wall, and everything else seemed to match by design.
However what made me sad was not the cheapness or faulty workmanship. Hell, I was living far worse and besides I could care less about such things. No, what made me sad is that these apparently wonderful people DID NOT KNOW. It was their ignorance not their work that made me sad.
But of course it was their ignorance that also added the sweetness to my melancholy. They seemed like my angelic little brother Chris: 4 years-old and blissfully unaware that the buzz cut my Dad had just given him in lieu of a proper hair cut made him look ridiculous. Or that beautiful girl at the prom who didn't realize that she was trailing a bit of toilet paper from her expensive high heel shoe. His buzz cut and her paper trail made me love them both even more.
I posted some years back that what drove me to spiritual seeking was this sense that there was a terrible secret lying at the center of life. A secret that made me feel like I was the only one at a quintessentially perfect wedding that knew that the groom was already cheating on his bride. What does one do in such a situation? The more radiantly happy the bride is the sadder you feel. The sadder you feel yet the more you love her. Once again it is her ignorance that is so horrible and yet it is that same ignorance that lends the innocence that makes her so lovable..
I think we are all sporting a ridiculous buzz cut with a bit of toilet paper stuck to our shoe while we proudly display our slip shod remodeling to a perfect stranger who ever so politely never says a word. We are all busily going through the routine of our daily lives blissfully ignorant of just how close death is, and just how trivial and pointless most of our dreams and activities are. And yes, maybe that is just one of the reasons why that Perfect Stranger that some people call God loves us so much.