there is no time for mud pie

"If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." -C.S. Lewis

Every time I travel back into Nashville from all those places, I play the same thing on the car stereo - right about the time my tires roll onto I-440. It's the only time I am even remotely tempted to smoke a cigarette.
When you're back in your old neighborhood,
The cigarettes taste so good,
But you're so misunderstood-
You're so misunderstood
I don't know if I'm misunderstood, but Jeff Tweedy seems to think so. Of course, that's assuming that the song is about me.

I had a friend tell me recently to not fear being a broken record. I've feared being a broken record all my life. Perhaps that is why I am one.

He told me that riding a horse requires that you fall. The whole question about it is what you do when you're lying face-down with dirt in your eyes. Grass stains. Perhaps lacerations here and there. Normally, I tend to find some twisted sense of relief after a fall. Within seconds, I begin baking. Mud pies are riding down the factory line. That's right, I already built a factory. It's easy when I am wallowing in the mud. But who can blame me when they are flying off the bakery shelves? People are passing up holidays on the beach to eat a piece of this shit. I mean, mud. Pies.

It takes a while, but I will eventually realize what I am eating, and I will slowly, very slowly, saddle-up again.

But then I make a mistake that will later have me eating pies till I pop: I tell myself that I will never fall out of the saddle again if I can hold on tight enough. And with knuckles clenched white on the reins, I kick. Here we go again.

In college, we had a poster of Bruce Lee hanging over our kitchen sink. He was ever present above our culinary endeavors, but more importantly, he kept a watchful eye over the dirty dishes. Someone, in a moment of pure civility, stuck a post-it note next to Lee's mouth that read: DO YOUR DISHES!

If I had small enough hands and my elbows were double-jointed, I would tack that very poster up inside my brain. Only, this time the post-it note would read: THERE IS NO TIME FOR MUD PIE!


Anonymous said...

I love the way you tied in Bruce Lee with C.S. Lewis and both of them with a horse and the monastery. Beautiful.
This is something we all need to hear over and over, so the broken record is a good thing, especially with dumb sheep who keep doing the same wrong thing over and over. Or we do the same thing over and over expecting different results, which I believe is one definition of insanity.
Well, we can't stop making mud pies without God, but it seems we can't see God when we're making mud pies.
We know we're making mud pies, we just want to stay comfortable. We are comfortable being in shit. It's what we know and where we don't have to take any risks.
I know you can do it. You can get back on the horse and ride off to a holiday on the beach. I know you can. Because God is waiting there for you.

Ethan said...

Yeah dude. This is really good and I am glad you wrote it. Exactly what I needed for the morning. You are awesome. God is obviously moving in and through you and that makes me excited!


Will Rucker said...

what Audrey said. i needed to hear both.

benjamin said...

Thanks guys. As far as the broken record thing goes, what I meant was this: I am constantly fearful that I sound like a broken record to God. I fall and come crawling back to him (eventually), and I feel like he is sick of it. So instead, right after I fall, I wallow in the mud for a while, thinking that I will just stay there so that I don't spin around again on the same groove.

When in reality, if I wanted to skip to the next groove, what I really should do is get up IMMEDIATELY. I may still feel like a broken record, but at least I didn't build a mud pie factory.

All that to say, God does not condemn us for making the same mistake over and over again, he just wants us to realize our mistake and GET UP. He knows that when we learn to do that, the mistakes will come fewer and farther between.

max. said...

I know how you feel man.

It's funny you used Bruce Lee because I just watched a documentary on the History Channel about him. Nothing more there.

I think the point is to keep returning to God.

To paraphrase George Macdonald (C.S. Lewis liked him a lot) "That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, . . . 'Thou art my refuge'."

Anonymous said...

Ben, ha, it's kind of like how you describe not going to classes to me. It's like you miss one class, and you're embarrassed that you missed it, so you don't go the next class, and then the next class, you're going to be really late, so you just don't go, and then the more you miss, the dumber you feel, and the more you miss, when in reality, if you just GOT UP and went, it would be 100 times better and your teacher just wants you to come, even if you're LATE!
HA! ya know...God is the teacher and we're the slacker college students with hangovers.

benjamin said...

so my problem was hangovers? i knew i shouldn't have had so many hangovers.