Fruit-Booting and Reality

I used to be a fruit-booter. At least that’s what the skateboarding crowd would call my friends and me. “Fruit-booter” was a derogatory term for those who were aggressive inline skaters. Let’s be honest, as far as aggressive inline skating went I was average. There were a few rails I could slide, some decent flights of stairs I could jump off of, and had there been the plethora of skate parks then as there are now I am sure my friends and I could have at least held our own at them, though we probably would not have wowed anyone, we certainly would not have inspired any film crews to show up to see our skills. The non-skating crowd would have thought what we were doing was amazing, but among those who know the sport few would be impressed. Nonetheless we had fun, tons of it.

As I look back to those days I realize that there was something different about me then, something admirable that over time I am afraid to say I lost. There was a passion in me, that rarely have I been able to capture since. This is going to sound weird at first, but when I look back at that time skating was my ‘worldview’. How I looked at the world was entirely shaped by inline skating. When I was at the amusement park standing in lines with my friends we would look across all the rails in the cue lines and discuss the various moves that could be done within those lines. When we drove by a staircase in front of a church our natural tendency was to see if it had enough of a run up to be able to jump off of, and enough space to land. When we saw sidewalks downtown with a concrete ledge we would question whether or not it could be waxed in order grind down. The entire world of concrete looked to me as a playground with unlimited possibilities. What was simply a planter box to the common observer was to me a royale to soul grind (skating terms) waiting to happen. The stairs you trudged up to get into your office building was to me a mute 360 waiting to happen. In the middle of winter while the skates got dusty my mind was still engaged, still creating, still seeing the world around me as a place of infinite possibilities.

The point is that my skating ‘worldview’ looked at the world seeking out its possibilities, not bogged down with its rational uses. I did not care what the intent of some flight of stairs was, I looked at those stairs for possibilities! That worldview brought life to everything I could see. My friends and I could have never put a finger upon why life was so good then. However if I had the chance to talk with them all now I imagine that we would be unanimous in saying that something has changed in all of us since then, and that the change was not for the better. At some point after careers began and life became driven by goals, and tasks the world lost its magic. Hand railings became something to help us up stairs, stairs became something we used to only to change our elevation to get somewhere different. Planters became nothing more than decoration and buildings became nothing more than places of employment. This supposed maturing process that we all go through is utterly tragic. As I grew up everything became so much more rational, so much more logical, and the world that was once a magical playground when I had the skating ‘worldview’ lost its magic. The strange thing however is that the world did not change, the world never lost its color, the world never lost it, it’s still here, I have just become blind to it. The magic is not gone, I have just ceased to believe in it! I contend with you that the magic that the skating ‘worldview’ allowed me to see was real, and the only reason I could see it was because of the ‘worldview’ I held. It was not a false magic, it was real, ask my friends Nick and Matt if it was real, they will gladly confirm it. Ask the kid on skates down the street, or the skateboarder with his skinny jeans and ugly haircut if it is real, he will tell you that indeed that magic is as real as the screen you sit in front of!

Now as great as the skating ‘worldview’ was, it is limited. For instance, rain or snow could bring the skating world to a halt. When the rain or snow fell you could only dream of the world that was, or the world that was to come again once the roads became usable again. Rain was not a blessing, it was the greatest of curses, because it temporarily destroyed your world.

Maybe my four year old son’s worldview is better even than the skating worldview. We walked in our house today in the middle of the rain and he had to stop to analyze the down spout. As I looked at the spout I saw it was flowing well which meant no clogs, all was well. When Joey saw it he saw a waterfall pouring into a newly created small lake in the front yard. Like magic the rain created a whole new world to be explored, he cared not about the function of the down spout, his thought was not rational in any sense, but you cannot tell either me or him that there was not a waterfall in our front yard that was not there a few hours earlier. He is not mature enough to see the function, he only sees the form, and the form was a waterfall. His view was far more desirable then mine! Don’t tell me it is just because he has a better imagination, it has nothing to do with imagination, he was just better suited to see reality! Clear as day there was a waterfall pouring into a newly formed body of water in my front yard, there was nothing unreal about it, you could touch it, feel the cold water, splash in the puddle that had formed, it was real. It was far more real than my view that saw nothing but a formed piece of sheet metal doing its job. This is not the case of a delusional Don Quixote fighting a windmill as though it were monster; this was the case of a real waterfall at my house.

What if I told you that I fought a monster today with hundreds of eyes that feasted on dead carcasses and vomited its prey all over the place? Would you think I am mad? I am not mad, no I valiantly destroyed a common housefly, which indeed fits the description I just gave. Go ahead and tell me I am a mad dreamer, I do not mind. Tell me I am nuts for seeing myself as a valiant monster slayer enjoying the task of taking out that fly as though it was the thing I was created for. Tell me I am nuts, I don’t mind, but it is you sir, not I, that is driven mad by the annoying fly in your house. You may kill the fly and have relief, but when I kill the fly I have victory and joy. Am I being childlike? Maybe, but you cannot say that I am lost in some fable or myth because I really did kill a little monster with hundreds of eyes that feeds on carcasses and vomits its prey everywhere. My mission was real, your worldview just limits you from being able to see it!

What I am saying to you is that this world is far more rich and dare I say ‘magical’ than you are willing to see. What I am saying is here is that the valiant fly swatter, skater, and waterfall downspout gazers are more realistic than you are! They see realities that exist that you fail to see. Your rationality prevents you from seeing the world as it ACTUALLY IS.

I could go on and on. The writer sees the English language with all its grammar and syntax as a great possibility for a story. The novelist sees more than just the function of grammar, they see a deeper more real reality! The rest of us see vocabulary and rules that we need to learn.

Hopefully what I have said above has piqued your interest, at least just a little. As you look down at your keyboard what do you see? Mere keys, or is it a device that enables you create and destroy worlds, to bring healing to people’s brokenness, and to expose wickedness. The REAL possibilities at your fingertips right now are staggering. Or what of your kitchen table, is it a mere place to eat your food and have some conversation. Or is it a place where you tell war stories about slain monsters, and discovered waterfalls. Is it a place to eat and complain about the days issues, or go through a few formalities of family life, or is it a conference of warriors, and explorers? Are you catching my drift? There are ACTUAL realities that exist around your own table that your view of the world does not allow you to see!

I would contend that the only worldview that actually seeks realities beyond the mere rational form and function of everything is indeed Christianity. In the eastern religions the goal is to ultimately separate from reality, that somehow entering into a state of nothingness can one truly experience spiritual life. Transcendentalism teaches essentially that matter is bad. These worldviews would teach us to learn that the downspout doesn’t matter, and that if we can get ourselves to the point where the downspout and nothing else for that matter affects us then we will truly be free. It’s bogus! I tell you that the waterfall was enjoyable and beautiful precisely because we realized it was REAL. It was not our distance that brought pleasure, it was putting our hand under it and enjoying it!

The reason I say Christianity gives us the proper worldview is because in it we realize that all things were created by and for Christ. All of it. We also see that we are indeed co-heirs with Christ, in other words this whole world in a very real sense is ours. When we say all things are created by Him we really mean ALL, from waterfalls to wrenches, it is all the creation of God. If indeed all things are ours as co-heirs with Him then we can determine how to use them as we please. Let me give an example. If I have a wrench, I can limit it’s usage to turning bolts, or I could make it a pendulum for a clock, or I could use that flat part as a mirror to pull out my nose hairs. It’s my wrench, therefore the possible realities for that wrench are limitless. Of course we are bound by laws of God so that we would not steal the wrench, or kill someone with it, but beyond illegal usage we are unbound. So it is with the entire world!

Even evil and pain function within this worldview to make something beautiful. Evil itself was the mere nemesis which God had nailed to himself in victory! There is a cosmic throw down which Christ won on the cross. It is a really beautiful thing, him reconciling the world to himself with real flesh and blood, a real cross with real nails. The existence of evil itself proves that there is the existence of good. The tension of good and evil makes the world all the more beautiful. Without pain there is no joy of healing.

In Christianity we have a sovereign God, the author of reality, all realities, nothing has been made that was not made by him. That means that even the reality to the skater is a reality created by him. The waterfall was His waterfall, the kitchen table is his command center, the evil housefly monster is a villain created by him that I might be the valiant king of my home. Do you see it?

If you can’t see it don’t quickly dismiss it. I assure you that in the middle of downtown Toledo there is a playground that spans over a hundred acres… you might just need to be a fruit-booter to see it. Unbeliever I implore you to look at the world through the eyes of a Christian, not one of those creepy Christians, but look at the world as a world created by and for Christ, a world of intense order and beauty that contains realities you have yet to imagine! You might just see there is more to all of this than you ever imagined.


Anonymous said...

Life is so wonderful when you stop and appreciate what God has given and sacrificed for us all. You have the power which He gives you to take any situation and turn it into a positive one (just like the downspout "waterfall"). Every time I am near a body of water it holds so many possibilities from having fun in it to a relaxing, tranquil and spiritual feeling. Your post, Jay, makes a person take some time out and really look at life that God has blessed us with. What we do with our life is up to each of us and we need to stop "and smell the roses" so to speak and look beyond the everyday chores and obligations. Take notice of what is really around you. Thanks, Jay. ~~ Carole H.

Bruce R said...

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven
Matt 18:4 (KJV)
I really enjoyed this post, Jay. God gives us so many blessings everyday, but we are so occupied by what we think is important that we don't stop and see the wonder of a flowing downspout.
But, your words reminded me of my childhood when we would race twigs along the flowing water in the street curbs. We found great joy in finding just the right stick and watching it run along the street, seeming to steer it's way around rocks and debris in the way. We were amazed.
I think I'll take Zach out to do that the next time it rains.