Thursday, April 26, 2012

Real Life Tao - One Week

Trey Smith

What a week! It seems that gremlins have invaded our car. It's weird how this seems to happen. You're going along and everything is working just fine, then you encounter one little problem and it's like the opening of floodgates.

At the start of last week, the lock mechanism for the driver's side door fell into the door housing. My wife said she was out running errands and, at some point, she went to lock the car door only to discover the lock mechanism wasn't there! After looking on the ground and then retracing her steps, she finally looked in the small hole in the door to see that the lock had slid down into the door housing. Not being mechanics, we have yet to figure out how to retrieve it.

Two days later, the locking mechanism that covers our gas cap (to protect against folks siphoning fuel) quit working. We have both examined the mechanism and, for the life of us, we can't figure out what's wrong with it. All the parts seem to be in working order and yet it refuses to latch.

Yesterday our right front headlight went out. In the old days, changing a headlamp was an easy task, even for a non-mechanic like me. You pulled the old one out and popped the new one in. These days, however, it ain't so easy! Car manufacturers have crammed so much stuff under the hood that it is now very difficult to get to the headlamp housing. Your hands and arms need to be able to twist like pretzels! (We took the car to a local garage and let them play the pretzel game.)

My wife used to moan when things on the car broke or didn't work as they are supposed to. "This is NOT a good time," she would wail. I would remind here of a sage bit of wisdom passed down by my late mother: There is no good time for things to break. Whenever it happens, it is, by nature, inconvenient.

Things breaking or not working as they are supposed to is a normal part of life. As we learn from the philosophy of Taoism, everything is born, lives and dies. This maxim is as true for humans as it is for machines. The moment we are born or a machine is built, we begin the journey toward our own demise.

I don't write this in a maudlin sort of way. It is not a reason to view life pessimistically. It is not a reason for habitual sadness or depression. It's just the way things are and, since life and death are two aspects of one whole, we should embrace both with everything we've got.

It has been said that, since we each are given one life, we should live it to the fullest extent possible. The very same thing may be true for our death. If we only die once, then maybe we should do it with gusto!

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.


  1. With stuff like that, I often think that life is trying to tell me something. Nice post!

  2. Thanks for the comment. I've added your blog to our Taoist Links page.


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