Voices from the Black Hole
Somewhere in the abyss between three and five in the morning, the black hole of sleeplessness pulled at me. Just as the gravitational pull of real black holes in the universe swallow entire galaxies; these morning vacuums suck me down a path where the view is stuck in the rearview mirror. The little safety warning sign, ‘Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear’ dare me to believe the appearance of things lost win the argument about the defeat of life’s purpose.
The writer once spoke, “I’d rather try something great and fail, than try nothing and succeed.”
That means something to people like me that enjoyed living a life of doing what we want or love. In the movie, Ford v Ferrari, Matt Damon plays the key role of Carroll Shelby and in a speech says something along the lines that a person who does what they love never works a day in their life. Then, there are a very few that find what they love, and they have to do it or go stark raving mad.
The latter description fits me. To try something great and create a life changing radio format came at a cost. Everything I did was overshadowed by the addiction to the purpose that drove me. These are the things that lead to midnight black holes.
Other writers over time had been inspired by thoughts such as, “If I am for you, who can be against you.” Or, “So is my word that goes from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish all I desire and achieve the purpose which I sent it.”
Who can argue with that? Well, I can late at night being sucked into that damn black hole with no bottom. On just such a night sinking deeper and deeper, words formed in my mind. I say that these words formed, because if anyone ever dares to say they hear a voice, they’re just nuts. The words were clear and became sentences of assurance. The one big takeaway was this, “You did not fail.”
In a conversation, I would surely object with facts about lost fortunes and other such trivial results. But, the sentences argue back, “You did not fail. You tried.”
“Well,” I thought letting my mind trick me into a conversation. “Trying may come close, but close doesn’t cut it. Ending the game with no score means losing.”
But no argument wins against such logic. “You tried,” the sentence became louder, “The act of trying means a lot. Can you imagine how I feel knowing the fact that everyone, everyone, gets good ideas from me? Then, they ignore the gift.”
The view in the black abyss began to change. A light at the bottom of the black hole began to fill the void. Like surf in a returning tide that fill voids in a beach with new tide pools, the light began to fill the tunnel. My protestations would surely prove my point by counting failures. However, the rebuttal to each experience grew with the light below filling the black hole. Again, the dispassionate almost stoic resolve once again stated, “You tried.”
My argument about there is no try, there’s either do or don’t failed in this exchange.
As the light continues to rise further, an explanation nearly dissolves the dark, “Millions upon millions are given big ideas and they never do anything with them. They sit on the higher ground at the beach watching tide pools form. Only the brave enter the surf and face the dangers.”
Now getting frustrated at the immovable argument, I decided to get up and search for a more reliable source. The internet with its limitless bottomless pit of answers could shed some light on this debate. That movie about the race car guy was still on my mind. Surely a quick Google of Shelby would arm me with better arguments about the difference in winning and just trying to win. Pages popped up with more sentences from his quotes such as, “Every morning I wake up with new ideas. I'm not going to take this defeatist attitude and listen to all this crap any more from all these people who have nothing except doomsday to predict. Yesterday's history. Tomorrow's a mystery. So live for today.”
The quote actually rang true to back up my opponent’s position spoken from the black hole. The web failed to take my side and made the point to forget all the crap in the rearview mirror. Who can argue with a winner like Carroll Shelby? He certainly knew a great deal about winning. But, he had his black holes of loss to deal with. He lived all his life with a heart condition and was married seven times. Again, he did what he had to do or go crazy.
Returning to my warm soft sheets, the black hole seemed to have lost some of its gravitational power. The sentences kept coming, “To try is to win, not to try guarantees failure.”
So goes the agony of sleeplessness. Then, just as the drug of lost consciousness began to take effect, one last paragraph of sentences formed when the source told me of an earlier late night visit with an insomniac named Isaiah. In his black hole of night, he never had the reservations about the source that also instructed him to simply try. Isaiah did not argue or think of the visit as anything less than to be expected. The words that formed to Isaiah revealed the following writing that has remained true for nearly three thousand years and millions of readers have relied on as a beacon to pull them from the darkness. That is a powerful result when he chose to take action and just try when he heard, “For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bud and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it. You will indeed go out with joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Photo by Tim Trad