Do you wonder what’s over the next hill? Motivated by wander lust and exploration you long to find LIFE ANSWERS in Shangri-La, Avalon, El Dorado, Shambhala, Eden, or Neverland?
Lacking the green tights, who doesn’t admire Peter Pan’s life of adventure, sword fights, pirates, mystical creatures, tree houses, hammocks, and perfect weather? And let’s not forget NEVER GROWING UP, cause (THAT) was a horrible life choice!
I’d hoped Lake Tahoe would be a little bit real world Neverland. A giant alpine lake encompassed by snow capped mountains, home to a series of towns said to indwell the character of a great book store/ coffee shop. My hippie heart pounded with excitement. Where’s Tinker Bell when you need her? Yet, quickly, reality set in as we searched for a parking spot. $15 dollar parking are you kidding me, for a public park!
Over the next few days I’d continue taking pictures of this iconic location, but one image stood out. A sail boat shadowed by snow crested mountains. What’s it like to live on a boat? Screw you Peter Pan, were going to hang out with Tom Sawyer! Life on the open water, no responsibility, no schedule, fish dinners, and no worries. Perhaps this was the next step for Lauren and I, a houseboat?
We’d been living the #Van life; months of open roads, National Parks, white water rafting, rock-climbing, photography, but something was missing. Would a boat be any different?
Self-examination’s an uneasy process. I felt embarrassed admitting this trip wasn’t just about adventure, photography, and travel. Like a child running away to join the circus, I’d packed my toys to chase something I didn’t understand.
Like our lives, every good photo encompasses darks and lights. Distant horizons painted by the shifting shades of sunrise, and a foreground shadowed by present realities. Horizons encompass miles of terrain offering vague definition. Thus allowing our imagination to paint a perfect picture. The grass seems greener, but once you’ve reached that point it too has shortcomings
Have you spent your life saying, If only I could finish school, life will be so different. Once I retire I won’t have to deal with this job, life will be good. Focused on this distant horizon you trudge through the current realities of daily life. But what if that horizon’s a fantasy?
There’s nothing wrong with planning, or being excited about the future. Just don’t get so stuck on where you want to be “Neverland” that you forget to enjoy where you are.
If your here for the afterschool special and pictures stop while your ahead
Are you focusing on the dark aspects of daily life? Preparing for work you experience a since of anxiety. Dealing with lazy seemingly incapable co-workers, unrealistic clients, and leadership so focused on spreadsheets they won’t acknowledge the dumpster fire in the middle of the office.
The little free time your schedule affords is haunted by an endless ” to do” lists. The dream of a vacation, laying in a hammock by the beach, watching the sunrise over a lake, hiking to the top of a mountain, is all that keeps you going!
What’s the point of working harder, when the incapable mouth-breather you clean up after gets a pay raise. Why smile at the person at the grocery store when they reciprocate a go to hell look? If only life was different, so we built a campervan, and made it different.
During those months on the road I realized life’s about perspective. Focusing on a piece of trash on the ground only allows you to see waste, ignorance, and garbage. Open the lens a bit and you see a beautiful shore line, a bit more and suddenly there’s mountains. Now pick up the trash, dispose of it properly, and enjoy life.
Are countless religions negating the responsibility and wonder of daily life by focusing on the distant horizon, “HEAVEN”? Could an obsession with “Heaven”, be destructive? Somewhere a young man is willing to kill innocent people in a terror attack. He’s motivated to do this by a weaponized religious view of heaven.
I know you’d never hurt someone, but are you willing to help anyone? I recently had a conversation with someone, “I know I should be better, but I know I’m going to Heaven”. “I hate the amount of trash in the ocean, its really sad that kids are starving in 3rd world countries, but God’s going to fix it”. “One day this will all be ok” . To which I responded, ” The Gospel, doesn’t imply the freedom to do noting, or worse be part of the problem.
I don’t expect the church to negate its convictions! I would however, like it to stop screaming hate filled catch phrases while waving signs. Stop using titles like Atheist as if it defines the very nature of evil. Stop using left handed prayer request to gossip. Stop shooting cold judgmental hypocritical stares.. Walking into a steepled building with a book you’ve never read doesn’t make you pious.
I’m sure some people are really mad right now, and I realize your (iron clad faith) can move mountains. But for the sake of argument, what if your wrong? What if this is the only life we get, your little spec of time in an indifferent universe. How did you use it? Did you smile, laugh, show kindness, help others, waste less, find common ground, love people, and smell the roses? Did you try to make earth a little more like “heaven”? I only ask because there are lots of Atheist who volunteer at shelters, run humanitarian projects, and seem very focused on making the world a better place.