“Other worlds?” responded the botanist to a student inquiring about life in other galaxies and how strange that life might be. “Other worlds?” she chimed. “Crazy life in other worlds? Is that what you’re asking about? I’ll show you other worlds!” And she held up a flower. “You can look for life in outer space,” she sang out. “You can scan the skies for UFO’s or read about them in tabloids. But from everything that humans have figured out so far, I will guarantee that you’ll never ever find another world any more wild, bizarre or utterly amazing as the world that’s going on right here in this flower.”
We humans are funny bunch. Always looking for answers out there somewhere. Always staring far beyond the end of our noses for solutions and resolutions for our lives. Whether we’re simply seeking thrills and excitement or are in quest of the perfect mate, the perfect job, the perfect vacation – whatever it may be – we spend a big chunk of our lives chasing after that Holy Grail or magic wand that we figure will somehow not only fix our lives, but whip them up into a sweet, frothy peak of delightful excellence.
Mr. or Ms Perfect must be out there somewhere, we assume. Whatever it is that will get our lives on track is out there somewhere. The key to fame and fortune is out there somewhere. Maybe even God, Allah, Elvis or some Grand Muffin Cake is out there somewhere just waiting for us to show up with our miserable little lives so they can shazam us into the life we’ve all been wanting.
So, we search in therapists’ offices. We search in churches. We search in bibles and bars, in bottles and beds. We search in books, magazines and horoscopes. We search the stock market and the mall. We search in self-help and growth groups. We search in sports clubs and casinos. We search on the internet, on public radio and CNN. “Certainly,” we mumble in our quiet desperation, “certainly the answer is out there somewhere.”
OK. We’re not always that needy. Sometimes we actually enjoy just being who and where and what we are. Nor is it totally nonsense to be searching for more. That’s what adventurers do. And to have “Adventurer” on your business card ain’t a bad way to go.
But, too often, we tend to muddle through our days with the assumption that the illusive Meaning-of-Life Treasure Chest is buried out there somewhere; and happiness will be ours the moment we find it, dredge it up and haul it home. Too often we tend to overlook the outrageous other worlds that are happening in that flower sitting on our kitchen table, in our day-to-day relationships, in our hearts and in our wild and wooly brains.
There are mysteries in each sunrise, secrets in every person you meet, cryptic messages in bird songs. The wind whistles a tune to tantalize the telling of a yet untold tale. The troublesome jerk at work may be stirring some up some scintillating psychic stew inside your sweet noggin’.
Tom Robbins reminds us that when you’re looking for the meaning of life, you should never underestimate a well-made taco and a cold beer. Let’s hope God forgives us the real atheism of over-looking or under-loving this inexplicable wonder of today.