I wasn’t very old when I first realized that life is serious to most people. I realized that I myself, spent a lot of time figuring what life is all about. Life is about self.
We start from birth with nothing on our minds, you know, the “blank slate” theory. We know nothing, but our senses are keen. Soon, we become aware of everything around us. At birth, we are pulled from our perfect sanctuary, our mother’s womb. In that instant of birth, our senses are jolted. First, is our sense of feeling. It follows, that we feel the urge to breath. We need oxygen. There is no sense of smell. Our eyes are not immediately opened. As air enters our body, we feel a sense of smell and taste. No longer receiving our mother’s nourishment, we feel another sense: hunger.
All our senses kick in within a few moments. Each sense has the experience of life thrown at them. Each minute, each day, our senses gain knowledge for the future. We learn from our past. Our lives consist of our past that began with the “pain of birth. It ends with the “pain of death” when our human future stops. We live and learn from the instant of our bodily birth, where there is no past, to the instant of death where there is no longer future. A way of understanding this is to say our past guides our future. An example of this would be that when we prick our finger with a pin, we feel pain. The experience of pain is immediately in the past. Therefore, we avoid a prick with the pin in the future.
Our lives are a journey from past to future. The present is an instant between the past and the future. The present is non-tangible. We learn all things from the past as we proceed to the future. During this process, it appears we live in the present. We exist in the idea that it is the present. An example is when we enjoy a candy bar. We decide, in the future, to eat it with each bite that we swallow, it goes from the future to the past. When it is finished, the candy bar is already in the past. It was delicious in the past. We can only say, “I am going to eat a candy bar in the future” or “I ate a candy bar in the past.” We cannot truthfully say, “I ate a candy bar right now.” I can only say, “I just ate a candy bar.”
It is the nonexistent, present, we do not exist. We cannot go back to the past and we can never reach the future. We live in the transition of the past and future. As I wrote above, early in my life, for most people, life is very serious. It is so because of the phenomena that there is no present. People, me included, deal with each day, pushing off the past and reaching for the future. We cannot be in the present, as we only pass, at the speed of light, according to science, from the past to the future. Thus, we live with the “weight of the world on our shoulders.” Because we cannot live in the present. We try to hold onto the past as we try to gain the future. I believe it is why I see many people in a serious mode. Without even realizing, they go through life under stress, in a hurry, taxing their brains and generally, in or on the edge of frustration, fighting the past, wanting the future.
It reminds me of a toy I had as a child. It was called a Magic 8 Ball. The Magic 8 Ball is a toy used for fortune-telling or seeking advice, developed in the 1950s. The user asks a yes-or-no question to the large plastic ball, then turns it over to reveal a written answer which
appears on the surface of the toy. It was like a large black billiard ball on the top of the ball was the number 8. On the bottom of the ball there was a small window. The ball was filled with liquid and in the liquid was another, smaller, ball that would float to the top of the ball and against the window when it was held upside down. On the inner ball, was written many prophetic phrases. I would ask this ball a question, then turn it upside down with the window at the top. The inner ball would float to the top exposing one of the phrases as an answer to my question.
The Magic 8 Ball, as silly as it seems, reminds me of us; serious people. We have on our minds, multiple matters of concern, created in our past. Our minds act like the Magic 8 Ball. Like the inner ball, our minds keep rolling around. We search for an answer. Each moment of the future, an answer rises to the top of the ball. In another moment, another issue answer replaces it. Each minute, each day, our lives proceed this way until we stop the inner ball. Despite all this very serious business, I find that almost all people have happiness and joy in their lives. They enjoy the beautiful events of their past, they plan for more beautiful and joyful moments in the future. It is the frosting on the cake of life. It makes life worthwhile. That is why, when I get the chance, I try to get everyone to laugh or smile. We are in this world to love one another. So, I try to give everyone, who crosses paths with me, a little joy and moment of happiness, if even for only a moment. When I see a serious person smile or laugh because of something I did or said, I can see the weight of the world lifted off their shoulders, even if, for only a moment or two. It is my small way to share my love with them and see God in everyone.