Every Situation is, Indeed, Relative…
Something happened to me last week and it’s not easy to explain. But then again, when we experience something profound, it’s never easy to put words to paper. We scramble for the right expression, phrase or thought. We attempt to bring home the countenance of that which acted upon us. That which drew blood, if you will. That which made us think and makes us realize that every situation is, indeed, relative.
How I came to sit in a room one early morning with two hundred strangers is mute to the story. Life is often random it’s said, and for me, this was one of those random happenings (see Chance: The Unknown Factor…). The point is I was there and I was about to experience something that would provoke thought within. You see, it’s not every day that one sits at arm’s length, (and I grasp for the right words here), but close to something harrowing, and yet intriguing. Suspense movie-maker Sir Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) famously quipped, “Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” In this instance, the dull bits were cut out.
As I sat and listened to the speaker, a person entered from a side door. Escorted to the center of the room in front of the crowd of spectators, the only thoughts I could conjure were those of curiosity. How does one come to this? What causes one to arrive at this point? How does one get into this situation? With some 400 eyes glaring, it was clear that this was a situation that not anyone of us staring would ever want to find ourselves in. If situations are relative, then this one was more relative than most.
We often live our lives in a bubble, not understanding the how and why of what takes place. We watch the six o’clock news with wonder and somewhat bemusement, sometimes snickering and sometimes shaking our head, but do we really garner the reports? Do we think to go beyond the headlines and discover the depth of what we see? From a cozy living room, everything has a sanitized effect to it, plastic and almost surreal. It’s as if life is one long feature film with a constant change of cast characters coming and going.
It takes a moment in a strange room with strange people to bring home the reality that what we see is indeed real people in real time. And it’s those real situations that people find themselves in that beg the questions of how and why? Will we necessarily find the answers? Maybe, or maybe not, but at least we must ask.
As I walked away that cold day, I couldn’t help to think about the randomness of life, and how much is dependent upon circumstance. And then I thought again, and thought how much life is dependent upon choice and decision. The two seemingly go hand in hand. Without chance, there can be no choice; without choice, there can be no chance. A cauldron of circumstance and decision catches us in its stew, and it’s exactly this that makes every situation relative, and some, indeed, more relative than others…
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