Archive for September, 2012

Brace to Taste the Bugs

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2012 by michaelcogdill

I see many people who want a life akin to one of those big winged hood ornaments — out front, on display, catching the light, the wind, the gnats.  Never thinking they might catch the first hell of a head-on collision. 

As someone who makes his living in the spotlight, I can tell you it’s not nearly as easy, glamorous or fun as it can appear.  Being out front, on that high display, does not come with automatic meaning, nor does it plow a deep legacy.  All the bugs get big at 85 miles an hour.

And yet, to push the metaphor a tad futher, too many content themselves with ridin’ in the back, tail-glued to the rumble seat.  It’s easy to content the heart as a follower, afraid to climb out and drive.  I’ve been there in my day.

Or, to push it all way too far, are we too often a set of tailfins?  Do we ride high and do little but chrome the tail lights and echo Elvis? (Don’t send mail, I love the King, too)  Are we content with being lovely hind teets of the highway? 

I suppose it all distills to this.  The real strength, the meaning of the whole thing, is found in the motion — the journey and the getting there.  Perhaps we live at our best when we help someone else arrive.  In so doing, we arrive, as well.

If you’re out front, brace for the bugs.  In the back?  Don’t take it as a destiny. 

And feel free to tell me to shut up and drive.  Or get out and walk!!  It’s not so bad, wiping the bugs from your eyes, pickin’ them from your teeth, hoofing it into the sunset!  Some good light comes with that, too. 

We’re all bound to find another soul out walking, watching the hood ornaments and the tail fins race by.

 

The Magic Word for True Wealth

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2012 by michaelcogdill

Two aggressive, wealthy men got into a contest.  It came down to one question.

Who could get the richest in the end?

Back and forth, ever higher they climbed, cutting a path up great mountains of money and all it’ll buy, in fiscal combat. 

They grew, after a while, to despise one another.  The goodness of the nature between them suffocated under the harvest of bank accounts and fanciful living.  The getting got to them.

Until one day.  One day, for one man, everything changed.

After years, and great fortunes, that one man called the other and said, “I don’t know who’s in the lead, but I don’t care anymore.  I finally have something you’ll never have.  I’m done.”

He hung up the phone, never saying what it was.

For months, his nemesis begged him, pleaded, “Tell me, what is this elusive thing I don’t possess? You claim I’ll never have it? Try me. Watch me. Just tell me what it is!!!! I’ll get it.  I will not lose!!  Hell no!!   Not to you!!”

This carried on for months. The mystery, excrutiating.

Having had enough of the fun, one day the triumphant man relented.  He let his former friend know.  Grinning with mercy, he let him in on the secret.

“This thing I have that you never will? It’s easy. It all comes down to one simple word. With this word, I defeat you. 

“For God’s sake, what? What word?”

“Enough.”

I use this story in speeches, and I’ve yet to see it fail to surprise.  The final word surprised me when I first heard the story.  This tells me plenty about myself, and, frankly, most of us.

When we measure wealth, pondering what affluence really means, enough never occurs to us.  The thought of its lasting satisfaction won’t come to mind without some reminder.  We create chaos in our getting, missing the serenity of enough. 

Enough is elusive, a treasure that just won’t come naturally.  

Why, when we finally reach it, is it so hard to recognize?

I’m a restless soul, always striving, seeking, trying to garner more of just about everything.  I celebrate this fidgeting reach of mine.  Such a restlessness makes us stronger, more able.  It fits us to serve souls who can’t do what we can. It causes us to make the most of what we’re given in the womb.

Onward is always the right direction, right?  Throttles all the way down always feel like the right speed.

But without gratitude, we’re on course to nowhere. We travel a restive avenue to a place of no rest.

There is thankfulness in that word, enough.  It’s downright mystic in how it makes us feel.

Enough becomes the hammock we fall backward onto, in a great sighing swoon, when we want peace.  It’s the peace money will never buy. And it never comes with a tinfoil crown. 

When we want rest, that word enough makes the only bed that won’t leave us aching with a hangover, longing for way too much more.

Cheers to longing to do more, even to get more.  It’s who we are, how we’re made.  Yes, cheers to our inescapable human depths that keep us longing for greater.

But in this good longing, standing at the silos of our growing harvest, let’s raise a glass to the peace that is — enough.

Among words, and in this beautifully fitful life, enough is magic.