Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Give 110 Percent Eight Days a Week

I was listening to the Beatles song “Eight Days a Week” the other day, and I began to wonder, and I asked myself why it is that I get so bothered when people say they are going to “give 110 percent,” which is impossible. I doubt if we are ever able to give even 100 percent, let alone more than that. So, it has always bugged me.
But, lo, along come the Beatles, and suddenly I am thinking that this type of expression reflects the fact that people, humans, men and women, are created in the image of a higher Being. We are something more—fearfully and wonderfully made, according to the Psalmist. We know there is more to our destiny than this rather limited, quotidian existence.  
We long for the stars. We look up in wonder and awe, and we come up with a space program that even now is beaming back images of the planet/dwarf planet/non-planet Pluto from 4 billion miles away. The communication technology alone is miraculous.  
“Cogito ergo sum.” I think, therefore I am. I choose, therefore I can. I dream, therefore I am more than. I love, and that validates it all. I feel I am part of some grand, overarching, wonderful plan. I must be. I see you, and I marvel. We. We are part of a grand, mind-boggling universe. We see it, nature, the world, the creation, trillions of species, living or extinct, and we say, in our loftiest pronouncement, “WOW!”
We speak and write and communicate in so many ways, a wink, a smile, a nod of the head. There is more here than meets the eye. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” We eschew the mundane for poetry. We string together words in ways that please not only our minds but our emotions, in ways that touch our souls, in ways that lift us up to the heavens.  
Our music transcends our puny, workaday lives. No matter the genre—Baroque, Chant, Plainsong, Polyphony, Rock, Metal, Punk, Hymns, Opera, Pop, Country—they all cry out, sing out, pour out that there is harmony in the world, there is wonder in the universe, there is something beyond, something more.  
We know seven, but we want eight, the supernatural, the superhuman, the beyond, the Übermensch, the super hero. Forty-nine is perfect (seven times seven) but we want 50, the jubilee, the time of rest and restoration, the time for rejoicing and re-creation. There is no largest number, no “infinite number.” Just add one and keep going. Infinity. Eternity. Is that not our home? 
We see bad things happening around us, evil, sin, tragedy, disaster, but in our mind’s eye, we see good triumphing over evil. Despite any evidence to the contrary, we, humans, we sons and daughters of Adam and Chava, we family of human beings, know that there is something more beyond. Oh, you may believe in your way and I in mine, but fundamentally we are seeking and believing in something more, lagniappe, goodness, greatness, grace, love, mercy, truth, life.  
We feel in our inner selves, inside, in the heart, in the soul, in the inner being, that we are inhabiting a body, but we are more. We look in the mirror and see the 62- going on 63-year-old face and yet we feel 25 inside. I am not old. Who is that old person looking back at me? And yet, there is also a part of us that feels ancient, touched by eternity, part of something larger, something better, something meaningful and wonderful.  
We touch one another. I’m talking literally now, a pat on the back, on the head, the touch of a hand, an arm around the shoulder, an embrace, hugs when we have been long apart, a cuddle, a punch on the arm, even a slap in the face, on occasion. It says there is something outside of me that I am nevertheless a part of and that I appreciate and that I love and want to embrace completely (figuratively, now) in all that I am and do. We are two, yet we two are one, yet part of a larger whole. We are a small group, but we are part of a larger family.  
We want all of our family to prosper. We believe they can, yet we are limited in our resources, so we do what we can for whom we can. (I am talking the family of man, now—please forgive the outdated, non-PC phrase—I still like it.) We give. We love. We laugh. We cry. We pray. We speak. We sit in silence. We dream of a world of peace, a world of love and understanding. We don’t see it, hear it, feel it, or smell it, but I think in some figurative way we may taste it. We are given tastes of it. In our relationships, one-on-one, small groups, families, faith groups, teams, we can imagine a world to come that is better than the one in which we find ourselves.  
So, keep on striving for 110 percent. Keep on living and loving your very best “eight days a week.” It means you are a human being, and you aspire to something more—because you are something more. Never forget it.

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