Odd things routinely happen to me when I fly. This doesn’t mean that odd things don’t happen to me otherwise, because they do.. It’s just that I am struck by the erstwhile coincidences and fully serendipitous that craziness that happens during the process of getting through security, checking ad actually flying...
And, as I”ve gotten older the more I like trains.. Sunday morning I was at the airport at the crack of dawn to board my flight home. Seated next top me was Randall. He was connecting at DFW then traveling on to San Diego. His final destination, however, was somewhere down in Mexicali. Randall explained to me that he riveted and welded for a living and a company was going to pay him to do that in Mexico for the next six weeks. He and his wife-- married for nearly 24 years-- were coming accelerating toward the end of their relationship and it was crushing him. Getting away, he explained, was the best thing for him because he didn’t know what else to do. My theory centers around 10, and 20 year signposts -- If marriage breaks up in ten years or less, it’s always about someone else. One partner finds another that they believe more fully meets their needs and they initiate the break-up. If the break-up occurs after twenty years, it’s less about someone else and more about uncovering that you absolutely,. without question, despise the future you see with the person you’re with. It’s about the loss of hope, and it being perceived with abundant clarity.
Randall asked me if there was a lot to see on the flight from DFW to San Diego. I told him there wasn’t a lot to see at 37,000 feet except for crossing over the Sierra Nevada was striking, although it came fairly late in the flight plan. Sitting across from me was Jimmy. He was a from a small town about 45 miles South of Tulsa. Jimmy explained was on the way to Odessa because that is where he left his truck. His final destination was Hobbs, NM and he was a welder in the oil fields. Jimmy made $16,000 last month and was on schedule to earn ever more during March. He told me that there was more oil in Hobbs than in Iraq-- not that heaving kind, but the light, sweet crude.that everyone wants. I thought that Hobbs was only famous for high school basketball. Little did I know it was a haven for oilmen.
Seating across from me was Terrance. He was the assistant coach on a collegiate basketball team that just won it’s conference tournament. He had the trophy with him and it sadly proudly in the empty seat between himself and another player...who slept for the entire 54 minute flight. Terrance had played for three seasons, but since he wanted to graduate in four years, he decided not to play this year. Although he, at 26, was a bit older than most, he felt he connected with the players. One of the reasons Terrance didn't’;t play this year was because he felt the calling the become a pastor and wanted to complete his Theology degree and be about Gods work forthright.
On the long descent from 27,000 feet--- as Randall, Terrance and Jimmy were in different stages of sleep-- I thought about, of all things, how things get murky and all jacked-us for us guys.
And what does it come to for every man: Women, Money and Dreams. Men are such simple creatures-- each of the three aspects of life mentioned above will either be either a source of torture or pleasure for for 9 to 10 every ten men alive today. North American males are trapped in a spider-wed trifecta fiending for sex, money and lamenting the loss of dreams.
Despite the appeal of the ‘big-three,’ the real quest is to understand how everything fits together and one has can at least they are moving toward their destiny. And what is destiny, but a destination. What external forces determining your destination? I paraphrase the words of the prolific and prophetic words penned by C.S. Lewis: “Men live lives of quiet desperation, doing neither what the want to do, nor what the ought to do.” You cant stop what’s coming. For guys, desperation manifests itself in anger, self-destructive vices and and the desire to watch SportsCenter 24 hours a day and do nothing else.. All these, perhaps, are a mask to cover the deep wells of sadness lurking just below the surface.