My three fantassimo siblings and I used to party it up at my grandparents house every Friday night so our parents could go out and get LIT!* I remember my grandpa would often tell us as we were leaving, with his characteristic grin and eyes twinkling merrily,** “Keep ‘er between the ditches!” Which was his southern-folksy way of saying, “Drive safe!”
Well my dollies and fellas, that man was onto something profound.
The older I get, the more convinced I am that *almost* all ickiness in the word is caused by people realizing they’re veering off the road, and then over-correcting so much they veer into the ditch on the other side of the road.***
Just think about it –
In the early 20th century, women had a difficult time being taken seriously in a lot of career paths. Now, stay-at-home moms are more likely to be sneered at (I wrote about this before).
Sammy realizes he’s wasting his money and becomes stingy.
Bo-Bo realizes he’s being legalistic with drinking and turns into a raging alcoholic.
Rhonda realizes she’s a little overweight and becomes anorexic.
Sally-Sue realizes she’s wearing herself thin at work and decides to binge-watch Netflix for 10 hours.
America realizes wide-leg jeans are ridiculous and starts wearing skinny jeans.
It’s everywhere, y’all!
So.. what? How to steady ourselves? How do we honor female executives and stay-at-home moms? How do we save without hoarding our resources? How do we enjoy a glass of wine without finishing off the entire bottle? How do we savor food without being gluttonous? How do we rest without being lazy? How do we wear sensibly fitted pantalons?
Well, to switch metaphors from driving to flying – my financial advisor told me a story to illustrate how to be a steady and calm investor, and I think it applies beautifully here.
[Apparently] when you’re piloting a plane, if you look at the nose of the plane you’ll realize you’re losing altitude at an alarming rate, so you pull up. Then you realize you’re gaining altitude at an alarming rate, so you pull down – and on and on you go, zig-zagging across the sky like an ignoramus. The key, he told me, was to stop looking at the nose of the plane right in front of you and to keep your gaze fixed and orient the plane to the horizon.
Our collective and individual spazzines comes from hyper-focusing on the immediate problems that are right in front of us – that are subject to change and we have some measure of control over. But to keep ourselves flying straight, and to not be over reactive, we need something steady, beyond our immediate space, unchangeable, a true reference….
…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
– Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe
– Hebrews 12:28
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
– John 14:6
Yowza! The moral of the story: you never know what depth of riches lurks in the folksy wisdom of your elders!
Keep ‘er between the ditches!
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*Lost in Time
**No, my gpa wasn’t Santa Clause.. the world should be so lucky!!
***At risk of being pedantic — but seemingly necessary in light of some gross misunderstandings of some of my recent fb posts — let me Claireify …. THIS IS A METAPHOR