I am a scientist by training. Practical. Sensible. Methodical.
I was once telling some friends about the first time I asked my wife out. I told the story as it occured to me. This happened. Some of that happened. And then I asked.
I didn’t realize what was missing from the story until one of them responded by asking, “So it was a logical decision to ask her out?”
I wanted to say no, especially since my wife was there for the discussion. I wanted to explain that I was motivated by love. That I actually threw my logic to the side for a moment and did something temporarily irrational but good.
But the way I told the story, their conclusion was the only reasonable one.
See, there I go again.
We have been married fourteen years and have six kids. Our lives together have been forced to become even more practical than the day I asked her out. It takes precise planning and execution to get six kids out of bed, to school, fed, homework done, dirty little bodies cleaned and in bed by 8:30.
Logic keeps the world moving. Practicality gets work done. It keeps food on the table and our cars filled with gas.
But a life lived in love must be more than logic. It should also include some foolishness. Some balderdash. Games of fiddlesticks.
To me, by definition love means we do things that don’t make sense.
Every good story needs some foolishness.
I was reminded of this when I read this poem by Mary Oliver.
Foolishness? No, it’s not.Sometimes I spend all day trying to countthe leaves on a single tree. To do this Ihave to climb branch by branch andwrite down the numbers in a little book.So I suppose, from their point of view,it’s reasonable that my friends say: whatfoolishness! She’s got her head in the cloudsagain.But it’s not. Of course I have to give up,but by then I’m half crazy with the wonderof it – the abundance of the leaves, thequietness of the branches, the hopelessnessof my effort. And I am in that deliciousand important place, roaring with laughter,full of earth-praise.
Foolishness? Maybe. But perhaps foolishness is the only way to stop and awe at the wonder of life.
Perhaps it is the only way to begin to appreciate everything we have been given. To appreciate each other. To laugh and sing and dance. To soak in the beauty that surrounds us. To smile at the world.
Has this kind of foolishness been part of your story?
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