I first lived in my mother’s womb
A dark and silent place I swam
This is where it all began
In this lonely, empty tomb
‘Til thrust into chaos and cold
I cried in agony, fear and fright
Harshly slapped, pain was my plight
Fate sealed before I was a minute old
Life is a series of dirty tricks. A master trickster.
It’s short. Time is limited and moves quickly. Yet we have to spend more than a third of it sleeping. At minimum. And we spend another third working to pay bills, to afford a house in a decent neighborhood, to buy a reliable vehicle, to pay for utilities and to obtain food to sustain us. Oh, and to purchase our smart phones and internet connections, which have now become a necessity. Then, we spend a total of 4.5 to 5 years cleaning that house and cooking the food we bought with hard earned dollars. 70% of our life is spent in front of some kind of digital media. Not to mention the time we spend raising the next generation who will repeat the cycle. What little is left over, after this and other obligations have been handled, is ours to do with as we please. Ours to enjoy…that small remaining slice of pie. There’s never enough time left at the end of the day. The clock is ticking. We struggle to balance all the things that are crammed into our overloaded schedules in a desperate attempt to survive…and then we die.
Life is very short.
And life will tell you all kinds of lies.
That things are going to get better.
That you’ll finally reach a place of financial security.
That if you work hard, you’ll be recognized and rewarded.
That love endures.
That things will turn out all right for you in the end.
That you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
Lies. Life is indeed a dirty trickster.
We are thrust from the relative safety and comfort of our mother’s womb into a cold, frightening, hostile environment against which we have no protection. If we’re fortunate enough to have loving parents – or even one loving parent – our chances of adjusting, coping, learning, thriving and growing to be a healthy and strong person are good. If this is our scenario, we might even enjoy the journey. If we do not have parents who nurture and protect, guide and love us, we don’t stand a chance in hell. Our fate is sealed. For, you see, there are a multitude of ways in which we can be broken. And the broken have to expend great energy – using even more of that sliver of pie that is left over after everything else is completed and achieved – to try to put themselves back into a semblance of working order.
Or faking it. Because life breaks us and then penalizes us for being broken.
Certainly, we are physically vulnerable, and some parents release their anger and frustration on their children by beating, slapping, punching and knocking them across the room. But beyond this obviously abusive experience, our soul is wide open and can easily be violated in a mad variety of ways, trashing us beyond repair early on. All it takes is a recipe of neglect, rejection, demands and unrealistic expectations, coupled with blatant selfishness mixed with a steady diet of verbal demoralizing put-downs. The result is severe damage to an innocent and trusting child, stunting and crippling them for the rest of their lives. Stir in some sexual, emotional or physical abuse for seasoning…doesn’t matter what flavor…and you can ultimately utterly devastate their curious minds and adoring hearts, crushing and fragmenting every particle of their spirit and soul, grinding them into nothingness and dust. In fact, their mind can be twisted to such an extent, the unprotected, abused child will be blind to the reality others live in. They can’t even fathom that other reality, a reality they can’t begin to comprehend, let alone see. And so, they begin to perish even as their child bodies grow. They quietly die inside before they have had the opportunity to enter 1st grade.
The education starts early and the lesson plan is harsh and unforgiving. No one passes the trickster’s class because they don’t live to tell.
The trickster declares everything will somehow magically get better someday, if only we will keep trying and hang on just a bit longer.
And the trickster laughs manically with wild glee as we near the end, suddenly realizing we have been duped. We’ve been a fool. We believed the lies.
The trickster always gets the last laugh.
And we never see that the laugh is on us…not until it’s far, far too late.