I’m walking through a beautiful landscape, one that an artist couldn’t replicate, or a camera, reproduce. I stay relatively quiet as my best friend Andy talks about the nonsense that for some reason makes more sense than most things in my life. Allowing his voice to fill up the empty space between the birds and leaves, my mind starts to truly understand how flawless life is. Then I wake up.
Forgetting about the dream, the love, and the friend, I fall out of sleep to the sound of my brother blasting his music out of his room, just loud enough so he can still hear it while he’s in the shower 2 doors and 4 walls down the hallway. I walk down the hall past his room, and past the shower sing along party that he holds every morning. As I pull some clothes on I get downstairs to grab my keys to get to work. It’s early, but life is good. I have a well paying job, a car, a thousand friends, a home, and a family inside that home that won’t hesitate to tell me they love me. But I never respond. I have more important things to cross off of the list; I don’t need to feel guilty about that.
While I’m at work I miss an ungodly amount of calls from Andy. He probably just wants to tell me about something completely off the chart of necessity to know. Either that or he wants some help with something. I never respond; I have more important things to get done, so I don’t feel bad about it. I get done working at my perfect job and meet up with my perfect girlfriend. We go to a perfect restaurant and talk about our perfect lives. What’s not so perfect is my phone that will not stop vibrating in my pocket. Is it just me, or is there such a thing as time and the fact that I don’t have it at the moment? It’s annoying, but life is good. I have what anyone could ever want and then some. I go to sleep giving myself a big hug. Who wouldn’t hug me? “I love you and sleep well” finds its way into my room from down the hall. Whatever.
Forgetting about the day’s work, the perfection, and the restaurant, I fall out of sleep to my dad rubbing my back. My dad never rubs my back; I guess he’s just feeling extra morning-person today. I glanced at the clock and noticed it was 10:33, at least 2 hours until I would normally wake up, because I don’t work today (life is good). Pulling away from him I’m a little pissed that he’s trying to get me up. “Evan.” I pretend I’m still dead asleep. “Evan.” He’s not buying it. I sit up and look at him like he just ruined something important and greeted him with a “What do you want!?” He was crying. “Andy’s dead, Evan.” “He was out on his land this morning and rolled his tractor into a ditch. The back tire landed on his chest.”
Before I even knew I was crying, I heard tears hitting my pillow, each thumping as loud as that back tire did. Each thump crushing securities I had, each thump knocking bricks out of the structure that used to be my comfortable life. Everything I thought I had got sucked out of my head, as they don’t matter anymore. Every opportunity I had to see Andy, talk to Andy, help Andy is flying through my empty head and is vibrating as vigorously as his calls did that were only hours in the past. I can’t breathe. I can’t move. I can’t think. The only word I can think of is comfort. Funny this word, granted my situation.
But it is comfort that makes me blind enough to ignore the real things in my life. Being so comfortable makes me skate through the sorry excuse I call a life and glide straight past what holds me together. I can’t see when I’m comfortable. I want to be uncomfortable. I want to be so uncomfortable in fact that I see in all directions at the same time. Life is good when your eyes are closed, but life is perfect when you take the time to open them and see what isn’t so perfect. That’s where beauty is. That’s the walk in the dream that nothing can re-make. When I die, I don’t want my life to meaninglessly flash by those that tried so hard to love me and hear them say “what the hell was that?” Open your eyes.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.