The Wisdom of the Poets

There is a lot I don’t understand about the affection for theme parks which compels people not just to go one day but to return day after day, season after season.  I can feel the initial excitement, the promises of an adult playground, of the freedom of zero gravity, the sensation of flight, and the thrill of speed.  Magical promises are easier to buy when wrapped in favorite storybook scenes straight out of Hollywood sets.  But to stand in a line for over an hour, sometimes two, for a ride that is over in two minutes, at least begs the question, “was it worth it?”  The speed of life can feel like a long wait for a fast roller coaster, where suddenly the lap bar is raised and you are climbing out of your little bench seat onto the opposite platform to follow the arrows to the exit.  At that point, there is just a stunned confusion at the end’s arrival.

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Sitting with my uncles and their wives, hearing their stories from their childhood home, and then a newly written poem about the weekend’s purpose, guided by Willie Nelson’s September Song, was like finally getting to the front of the line for the exhilarating, yet too short, ride.  But of course the most nostalgic moments have nothing to do with speed but are more like a slow, beautiful montage set to heart rending music.  He wrote of the shortening days, the dwindling of time too short now for “the waiting game.”  And I wept.

We talked of writing, and of our genuine and broad fears of what might transpire under our country’s new leadership, of college memories, and new restaurants.  We talked about the white supremacy so deeply engrained in all the systems from which we have benefitted, and wondered how we might reconcile the treasured memories of our past while condemning the corrupt system by which they were born.  And we talked more of writing, of poetry, of life well lived, and the shortening of days.  I left with a full heart and found the fog burned from my vision.

If the ride is too short, and the day suddenly over, what should those waiting hours actually hold?  Should we just move through those snaking lines staring at whatever trivia or “news” is broadcast on the overhanging tv monitors, stare glassy eyed at our phones, complain about the line and the smells and our aching feet?

But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon him. 2 Kings 3:15

My mouth shall speak wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
    I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre. Psalm 49:3-4

More music and poetry.  More words of Life from the One who is called Wisdom.  Life is too short to assume we have time for wasting.