Monday, May 22, 2006

Vision #9

Cemeteries are so peaceful. I mean, a good designer plans how the way the roads and sidewalks will be placed, works with a gifted landscape person, collects money for grave plots and gets to work. Soon, a beautiful; serene park is developed. Weeping visitors ohh and ahh over how wonderful it is. Furthermore, the work gets maintained. The inhabitants never fuss, there are no disputes over the types of plants, no neighborhood squabbles. It’s all so orderly. So unlike other places. Like nurseries, for example.

In theory, nurseries seem like wonderful places – all those cuddly little cherubs hugging stuffed bears and kissing one another on the cheek. That is what we see on the cover of all the advertisements and brochures of nurseries and day care facilities. And its not false advertising either! The picture is the true intention of the daycare owners. In practice however, things are not always that pretty. Children don’t always follow the teacher’s instructions. Sometimes kids shove one another. Sometimes they fight over the same toy. Sometimes they mess their pants. Reality has such a crazy way of upsetting good theory.

The visions in our heads are so inspiring and respectable. Implementing those visions is another matter. Like democracy, for example, “a government of the people, by the people and for the people” the great Lincoln said. Stirring stuff. When I hear those words, I can almost see jets flying. I hear the flutes playing Yankee Doodle. Now if only the people in that other party wouldn’t interfere, obstruct and subvert the glorious agenda that my party is offering the nation. What a marvelous country this could be. It looks so majestic in my head. If only the people would just listen to me!

Visions are theories and there are few things as important n life and work that a good theory. Theories provide direction and structure that focus our energy and resources toward desirable goals. Theories help us work together. If the theory or vision is a plan for a graveyard, the reality finally achieved will probably look very much like the vision as originally conceived and proposed. However, if the vision involves people – children or adults (who are just big children) – the end result may not look entirely like the original plan. That’s why fanatics are never satisfied. They can’t get the world to look like the picture on their heads. People who actually get things done though must learn to work with what is possible rather than weep over what is desirable. What we desire must sometimes get put on the shelf so we can get to work on what is actually possible.

So we should enjoy our visions. We should keep working on them. We should fine tune them. We should communicate them to all who are willing to listen. But we also must realize that if we plan to actually implement the vision that “time and chance happens to them all.” Also, sometimes people make a mess. (and it can smell.)

We live in a fallen world. In an unfallen world, the vision in our head and implementing that vision, would probably be an exact match. (I’m speculating. I’ve never lived in an unfallen world. I’m from West Virginia.) I just know that in this world, material manifestations of a vision may not end up exactly as we had hoped.

In Family Vacation, The Griswalds visit to Walley World doesn’t really turn out exactly as they plan. But they do have a good time on the journey!

Spiritual life is often like that.

So be brave. Start implementing the vision with flexibility and good common sense in mind.

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