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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Gibbons

The Wobbly Paving Stone

Yesterday, when the rain finally stopped and the sun began to shine, I headed out for a walk. It was warm enough for shorts and sandals, so I set off skipping toward the river with my beloved headphones. Thirty seconds into the first song, “disaster” struck. I stepped on a wobbly paving stone, sending a jet of cold, gray, oily water spurting up my leg, soaking my sandal, and leaving my shorts filthy. I felt like a drowned rat—at least from the waist down.

So what do we do when such a “disaster” strikes? When we find ourselves afflicted by the unavoidable? Do we:

  1. curse God for having the nerve to arrange dirty water and a wobbly paving stone in such a way—in a performance that Katie would be proud of—and head home to clean up?

  2. berate our own stupidity for walking down that particular street and stepping on that precise spot and head home to clean up?

  3. say “What the fuck?!?”, laugh, and bounce off down the street before we miss the next beat of the song?

What do you do in these situations?

Option b is interesting because we’re blaming ourselves for our misfortune, and this is clearly the wrong way to go. We’ll come back to the thorny topic of blame in much more detail in Part Two, when we deal with the terrifying issues of our relationships and dealings with ourselves and others. For the moment, we’re going to keep it simple, put those ideas of blame on hold, and pretend that it’s just poor me against an uncaring, hostile world.

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