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Emblem 067: Gratitude

It’s such bullshit. Everything I have I’ve earned. Other people haven’t had to work a day in their lives and they have things I’ll never have.

What is it I’m supposed to be grateful for? That my pain isn’t worse? That whoever keyed my car didn’t decide to smash the window while they were at it? That although I hate my job I have a job?

That I have both my legs, that soldiers don’t break down my door in the middle of the night and shoot everyone, that even though this is the city I can hear a mockingbird and he reminds me that the planet isn’t beyond repair, that it’s not too late? That I’m alive and suddenly aware of that while it’s still true?

My God, if I become grateful for my life where will it end?

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Emblem 061: The cruelty of fate

A man is lost in the desert. Ahead of him he sees something incredible, a soft drink vending machine. It must be a mirage. But what else is there to crawl towards? He drags himself over the dunes until he reaches the vending machine. It’s real! And in his pocket: exact change! He scans the selections eagerly. Then the terrible truth arrives—all the choices are Coke. But for many years the man has only drunk diet. Bitter, bitter, and feeling that life plays with him like an inexpensive toy he continues on his way.

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Emblem 051: The holy land

A lot of us were raised with the tradition that the holy land is somewhere else. Or in our searching have created our own version of this idea. Jerusalem, Mecca. India, Tibet. Someplace far away.

But far has gotten nearer, two days if you make all your connections. And as the world gets smaller and rounder connections are easier to make. What goes around comes around, as they used to say.

This is the holy land—the intersection where you wait for the light to change, the restaurant where you meet your friend, the place where you turn off the TV or close the book and head for bed. You live on the holy mountain, at the foot of the world tree, at the center of the universe.

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