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Landon Saunders

            Insecurity is one of life’s greatest enemies. We keep adding layer upon layer of goods and experiences and accomplishments, somehow believing that if we can only get enough layers down, we will be secure. Is it true, though?

            Tolstoy tells the story of a man who was chased by a pack of wolves. He ran and ran, but they were getting nearer and nearer.

            He finally stumbled onto an old abandoned well. He grabbed a small tree growing out of the inside wall of the well, and lowered himself into the well and beyond the reach of the wolves.

            He thought he was safe…until he looked down to the bottom of the well. There, teeth bared, saliva dripping, was a dragon, just waiting.

            He then looked over to where the little tree he was holding onto grew out of the well’s wall. To his horror, a black and white rat were gnawing on the small trunk.

            There he dangled. Wolves above, dragon below, and rats gnawing away at his only support.

            As he looked around, something caught his attention. On the leaves of the tree were a few drops of golden honey. He leaned over and began licking those drops of honey.

            We can interpret a story like this in many ways. I am struck by this thought: We really don’t have protection against problems and death. There’s no use pretending we do. But even though that’s true, it doesn’t mean life has to be bitter. No, there’s a way to taste the sweetness of life even though we face the realities without blinking.

            If we are to find true joy, we must somehow learn to make insecurity holy. This wouldn’t mean much to me, frankly, if I didn’t have great respect for the reality of the inner life of human beings.

            A few years back, there was an article in Esquire magazine that asked: If your life had one question, would the answer be Yes or No?

            Samuel Beckett, one of the two whose answer was given, said, “The answer is No. Life is awful. Grimace and bear it.”

            Isaac Bashevis Singer, the other, said, “The answer is Yes. Life is God’s novel. Help him write it.”

            I too believe the answer is Yes. I believe there is a joy that thrives right in the midst of the awfulness of life.

            This joy encompasses all of our experiences, including the negative ones of anxiety, fear, anger, sorrow. There is even a way that suffering is held by delight.

            The chief purpose of a human being? To enjoy. Can you do it?