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Surprise! On Running Away and Joining the Circus

A new day dawns and who knows what surprises await us and what possibilities they might awaken … like running off and joining the circus.


As a kid, I was taken with trapeze artists and fanaticized joining a circus and performing daring tricks under the big top. I got sidetracked and the dream never materialized, but then one day, as I wandered down the street minding my own business, what should I stumble upon but a trapeze school with real trapeze artists dangling the possibilities before unsuspecting strangers. Burt Lancaster catching Tony Curtis doing the triple in Trapeze flashed before my mind.


Dreams deferred are not necessarily dreams lost and as I paused and watched, some young thing leaped through the air to her catcher, some young guy with muscles in places most of us don’t even have places. My wife could read my mind and in her knowing way, she pointed out that neither of the performers had gray hair and probably neither one was afraid of heights, either.


It was probably just as well: we’d have to sell the house to follow the circus and then where would we be. (Or rather, where would I be, besides lonely, she said.)


Still, think of that year’s Christmas letter to friends and relatives: Surprise, guess who joined the circus …!


Merely awakening our capacity to be surprised may itself come as a surprise to some of us, and the fantasy having captured our attention, what is there to do but … well, contemplate its contours, as I like to say.


What often gets in the way, though, is some combination of the Three-C’s … Comfort, Convenience, and Complacency. Not exactly on anyone’s list of deadly sins to avoid, but the Three-C’s do have a way of encasing us in routines, like ruts in the road, that get harder and harder to escape as time goes on. (You’ve heard of the definition of a rut … a grave with the ends knocked out?)


All the more reason, then, to bring a little Imagination and a touch of Creativity to the dawn of the new day and see how the day unfolds. For most of us, the daily drama will probably not lead to the Big Top, but the thing is, you just never know, and in the meantime maybe a Divine impulse is lurking nearby, suggesting something more … immediate.