October 6

When a Three Hour Tour is A Whole Lot More…

For a really long time, when I was a kid, I had an irrational fear of falling into quicksand.

I think it was the Gilligan’s Island episode that did me in. I don’t know if there are a lot of places in Iowa where there are pools of sinking sand hiding in between corn fields and hog farms, but I was definitely a little skittish going down the big slide after seeing the Skipper sink so quickly.

Poor Gilligan was just whacking away on the coconut tree branches as his Skipper sank further and further. He was unaware that his friend already escaped from the miry, sinking sand pit and was standing right by his side the whole time.

Skipper stood watching his little buddy cut and chop while he wiped his forehead with a look of exasperation that seemed to say, “Why are you even bothering, Gilligan?”

Why do we bother?

A few weeks ago I had a phone conversation with my second cousin’s best friend’s brother-in-law. That lengthy description should appropriately disguise the person I was really talking with.

I asked how his new assignments were going online. “Pretty good.”

“Are you on track to hit your goal of getting all A’s and B’s so far?”

“No. I got a C in Intro to….” something super important.

“The instructor said I could make it up by going back and turning in the extra credit, but I’m not gonna do that.”

“Why not?”

“Why would I bother?”

Why bother? he asked.

“Because you had a goal to make A’s and B’s!”

That’s when I went all motivational speaker on him. “Why bother? Are you kidding me with that? You bother because you want to be better. You bother because someone has offered you an opportunity to fix it. You bother because an attitude of ‘why bother?’ is a total slacker mentality that is not going to get you anything in life that you want.”

I think I heard a huff and a snicker. “It’s not that serious.”

“It IS that serious. It’s about the choices we make every day. The little things matter. That’s why you bother! Where would we be if everyone had that attitude?”

I thought of that confrontational conversation last night while I was chomping down my movie diet of buttered popcorn and Twizzlers in the super awesome reclining seats at the Palladium Imax. Whaaat? Reclining seats? Glory! Glory!

Reclining seats? Glory! Glory!

Admittedly, I felt a little bad chilling out and deep chair seating while I watched, Mully, an incredibly inspirational story about the power of one person who had every stinkin’ reason to not bother. But he refused to give up and be what his uncle and father were.

He succeeded and succeeded and succeeded, until one day, God called him out on his motives and that incident wrecked havoc, i.e. transformed his life. The catastrophic numbers of children suffering bothered him enough to change his life and Mully became the man and daddy to over 23,000 orphans who were abandoned to die in the streets of Kenya.

I can’t get over the power of a person who is so able to embrace such incredible kindness and love after every valid reason to be bitter and not bother.

I can only seem to muster up that kind of love in a way that is mostly inconsistent, despite my heart’s desire to stay steadfast with family and friends who know all my insides and issues.

But still, on most days, I bother to try because I believe it’s important to keep trying, keep moving, keep pulling and pushing to find what works.

Even when it feels like we’re quickly sinking and see no way out.

He actually changed his mind and did the extra credit, raising his grade to a B!