The Engines of “What If

6 July 1994



And as the 500 horsepower "What if?" engine pistons roared in his mind, pounding faster and faster, he could only stand where he was and wait for the explosion he knew was coming.  His mind, the engine, was blowing itself apart.  Racing faster and faster, he could feel all the pieces of his mind strain at the speed and when he thought that it could not go any faster, that his mind could not take any more, a second, even more powerful, "What If?" engine came to life and it too began racing uncontrollably, pounding away its "What if? message with each piston stroke and the noise in his mind was deafening.  He could not hear, he could not see.  Like a statute all lead and unable to move, he stood there and as the twin engines screamed on, his mouth opened and he raised his head to the heavens to plead, to scream but nothing would come out.

And then, suddenly, he was aware that in his mind, a thought was being borne.  At first he could not hear it but he could feel it and as he became aware of it, he began to try to focus on it over the noise of the engines and his struggle to recognize the thought, to hear, gave him some focus, some point, some weapon against the "What if?" which had so dominated his mind.

Slowly he began to hear a word or two of the thought.  Slowly the words formed part of a sentence.  Slowly, he began to push the sound of the engines into one corner of his mind and the light of the thought began to brighten and he could hear "You have no where to go".  "You have nothing to do"  "It is ok for you to just be alive"

"Ok, for you to just be alive!" 

The thought exploded throughout his mind and at once the twin engines of "What if?" began to slow as if out of fuel and for the first time in hours or days, he felt his body relax a little.  His shoulders ease back down and then as if God himself made light just for him, he began to see again and the world of the forest began to come alive around him and he turned his head and the engines of his mind slowed to a complete stop and all was quiet.

"It is ok, just to be alive"  "God expects nothing of you"  "You have no where to go and nothing to accomplish so relax and enjoy the life that the universe has given you"

His hand raised to his head and gently he touched his face as if to notice it for the very first time and then slowly, very slowly he sat down on the ground and crossed his legs.  The silence of his mind and the forest about him was exquisite and clean and clear and as he sat and looked at the trees and the leaves and the ants moving about him, he felt deep inside him that the thought was right.  "No where to go and nothing to do."  Being alive was enough and a smile came to his face and for the first time in his life, he felt free.


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