Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Nuances of Tic-Tac-Toe

This is how it began.  Three enormous boxes.  

Four million pieces of wood.

We set out with belief in our hearts.  

We did not possess great skill.  But we were unified in our purpose and determined to reach our goal.

Along the way, some of us got distracted.

The manual said it would take a minimum of six hours.

Bob Villa leading the entire legion of professionals from the DIY Network could not have finished in six hours.

We quickly realized it would take more than a day, and discouraged, we had to take a step back.   

Some of us needed a hug.


But the following weekend, we returned to our task.

Again, we did not finish.  

We took time out for family.

We completed great works of art.

And then one day, the slide went up.  A few days later, the swings followed.

Then in a flurry, the telescope went up, the flags appeared, the rock wall was assembled, and tic-tac-toe was screwed into our ship's cedar hull.

Not everyone grasped the nuances of tic-tac-toe.

But it didn't matter, because we had started with a vision, and though we encountered improperly pre-drilled holes, various design flaws, and snapped carriage bolts of irregular sizes, we brought our dream to fruition.

So as you start this week after the long three-day weekend in which we celebrated the intrepid voyage of the explorer Christopher Columbus, I hope you will feel emboldened to set off once more on your own various journeys, trusting that with faith and determination, you will see your project--whether it be the Great American Short Story or becoming a master of tic-tac-toe--through to completion.

And please, as you encounter the limits of your abilities and patience, try to remember that the ups and downs are part of it and that we must learn to enjoy the ride.  Because if we are always worried about reaching some destination or trying to stay in a state of safety or comfort, the present moment will constantly elude us, and we will fail to recognize its eternal face.  We will fail to feel its flow and see its simple, direct beauty.

Don't believe me?  Just ask Cubs manager, Joe Maddon.
"I'm always about fans worrying; go ahead and worry as much as you'd like. From our perspective, we have to just go out and play the game like we always do. I'm here to tell you, man, I just can't live that way. The line I've used is, I don't vibrate at that frequency... The process is fearless. If you want to always live your life just based on the outcome, you're going to be fearful a lot. And when you're doing that, you're really not living in a particular moment. 
If you take care of the seconds, the minutes, the hours in a day take care of themselves. So for our fans back home, please go ahead and be worried. That’s OK. But understand that from our perspective in the clubhouse, we're more worried about the process than the outcome.”
Thanks to my brother-in-law for sharing that quote from the Chicago Tribune with me, and thanks to you, brothers and sisters, for stopping by.