Living on the corner of two of the busiest streets in Bismarck, I am treated to the constant sound of sirens, trains, and drivers (usually male) who want to make as much noise as possible with their vehicle.
Never mind the usual cacophony of the day. Noise and bustle and “look at me!” all while I lie in bed in the dark waiting for sleep and silence.
It never seems to come. There is a riot when I crave peace.
The present is a circus; there are all kinds of clowns.
There is juggling and there are ringmasters and there are elephants in the room. We walk on tightropes that end up winding and binding and strung up and out. We are flung through the air when we are least ready and hope there is something to catch us if we fall as we grasp for the hands of hope and opportunity.
The trinkets to distract aren’t cheap, especially after we buy them; the price paid by the Ringmaster was even higher.
I get tired of the clowns, but I don’t want to stay in the stands and watch from a safer, quieter distance. My friend Charlie sent me an email of encouragement a few years ago, and included the well-known quote by Teddy Roosevelt from his “Citizen in a Republic” speech:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…
I’ve remembered that quote often, sometimes in the context that Charlie used it, and sometimes when…I get tired of the arena, the circus of now. I am reminded it doesn’t last that long, actually, and what I do during it matters.
The circus of now…is soon silent.