This week I saw a man with a spider on his face. I wish it was an actual spider on his face, so he could just brush it away, and writing this would just freak out people who are afraid of spiders aka wussy people: (person scared of spiders) “Oh no, an insect with 8 legs instead of 6! The two extra legs make the bug terrifying.” This guy I saw had a tattoo of a spider on his face, and it definitely wasn’t subtle or cute. It wasn’t like he wanted to commemorate his love for the book Charlotte’s Web with a cute little spider writing something like ‘winner’ on his face. No, this was a full sized, hair exploding tarantula covering a chunk of his face. Minus the tattoo, he wasn’t even that bad looking a guy. It’s not like he was thinking “Maybe this will distract people from my elephant trunk nose and ears,” or maybe the distraction worked and I missed them. Having a tattoo means he chose to put this giant insect on his face. It’s not a birth mark that happened to look like a spider; that would be kind of cool. No, this was an actual needle pricked, ink blot on his face, which means he picked the tattoo, saved his money, and chose to spend $500 (or whatever it cost) to someone to permanently scar his face. Even if he had a really bad drunk night and got the tattoo by mistake, everyday he’s waking up, looking in a mirror, and thinking I made a good choice because he’s not getting it removed. It’s like he saw Home Alone as a child and when McCully Culkin’s character put the tarantula on the robber’s face, he was like “That’s it! That’s what I need on my face to reach my full potential.” Even if he somehow had an unusual attraction to spiders, put the tattoo somewhere not visible. Instead, he was like “I’m going to commit to this. Put it on my face. Tattoos are pain free, right? Ehn, whatever, I need to do this to show my love for my childhood pet, Ugly Hairy. My parents gave me a spider because they didn’t love me enough to get a puppy.” Putting the tattoo on his face is essentially saying “I’m happy not working a job that’s very respected or professional; I want to be hidden in the back.” He can’t even be a hitman because the marking makes him way to obvious a suspect (policeman): “I don’t know what the crime is, but I’m guessing he did it.” Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve never looked at someone and thought you know what would make you more attractive? The tattoo of a giant insect crawling across your face; the bigger the better. I’m sure God’s not in heaven thinking: “Look at all these beautiful people I created… I can’t believe I never thought to have images of bugs on people’s faces. Images of ugly, exoskeleton creatures people normally squish dead would’ve made people that much more beautiful.” Seeing this guy, who I assume is a genius, reminded me of the lesson I learned a long time ago: We need to balance the past, present and future. If we get overly focused or neglect one of these, it can really screw us up as the following describes.
Past: When we get stuck in the past, we typically end up swimming in a pool of regret and shame. It can also leave people being stuck in the glory days, and not pushing themselves to new accomplishments like the old guy bragging about his high school football days. On the other hand, if we ignore the past, we are at a high risk of repeating our mistakes. We need the past to help teach us important lessons to grow, but we need to be careful not to make it our primary focus.
Present: When we only focus on the present we can make some terrible choices like spider tattoos on our face. I find the three most common mistakes that happen when we get stuck in the present are racking up debt, cheating, and exploding. Debt wise, the Great Depression taught us to spend less than we make or if we are investing in something that we need to be careful that it won’t cause us to lose everything… or at least it should have. We then had the crash in 2008, which re-taught us to be weary of debt… or I guess it didn’t since many people are still seriously in debt to credit card companies and stores because they got sucked into the lure of ‘I can pay for it later’. The second problem, cheating, I find is largely the result of people getting stuck in the moment and not considering the big picture because cheating feels good in the moment, but it has a heavy price to pay later. The third problem, exploding, is when we start screaming at someone we’re angry at. I’m yet to find screaming a tool that helps people feel loved and connected, but a lot of us get caught in the moment and explode, which carries an emotional debt later. On the other hand, the present can help us find peace, set ourselves up for a better future, and can help us get things done as we get lost in the moment (reference to 2 weeks ago).
Future: Getting stuck in the future can prevent us from enjoying the moment and thinking about what we still have to do. It can cause a lot of anxiety about what will happen, and even prevent us from moving. Fortunately, the future can also inspire us and help us have a better idea of what we should be doing in the present.
This week may you find the balance of remembering the past, dreaming of a better future, and getting lost in the present.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people