What makes us want to get up in the morning? What keeps us up at night? Some people always want to know what makes others tick. I’m not one of those people. What keeps people from never wanting to get up in the morning again? What makes people fall asleep at night? That’s what I want to know. Because these questions are much easier to answer. It’s nearly impossible to find your calling in life. Most of us are just getting by. So better lower your standards when asking existential questions.
Yesterday I found my dad eating a thick slice of gingerbread an hour after lunch. “That slice is way too thick. You should cut thinner ones. That’s way better than eating half the cake in one sitting,” I said. My dad was always after losing weight, but he kept messing up his diet by binge-eating brownies and sweets.
“Better for whom?” he asked, clearly in a philosophical mood. “Is it better for me not to eat a thick slice of gingerbread?”
“It’s healthier, that’s for sure,” I said.
“But what about society?” He looked at me quizzically, waiting for an answer.
“What about it?”
“What if I had to eat that slice for society’s own good?”
“What does gingerbread have to do with society?” I inquired. “I just don’t see the connection.” My dad cut himself another slice.
“Well, maybe eating gingerbread keeps me from buying a gun and shooting people.”
Well, that escalated quickly, I thought. But what if peace really is in the small things like cake?
“Who can say what’s right and what’s wrong?” my dad continued. “Nobody knows what would have happened if something else hadn’t happened earlier. Maybe the things we consider wrong, aren’t that wrong at all. Everything has a purpose,” he said, finished his second slice, and left.
Maybe he’s right and pulling the trigger is not the difficult thing to do. Maybe not pulling the trigger is.