Last Saturday was National Hammock Day. Sorry for those of you who just now found out! Lucky for you, today happens to be National Father-In-Law Day, National Cheesecake Day, and National Whistleblower Day. I think the whole National Day thing is getting a little ridiculous, but that’s okay!
Anyway, last Saturday I went longboarding down to the park and set up my hammock on a little hill overlooking the Spokane River. I sat there for a few hours watching the sunset, pondering life, and listening to music. It’s hard to put into words how peaceful and relaxing the experience was … that is until a lady started yelling at me from down below.
“YEAH YOU! What happens if lightening strikes that tree twice?!”
Her comment took me incredibly off guard and honestly I don’t even remember what I said in response. At the time I didn’t think too much of it, but for some reason I keep thinking about what she said. Not only that, but also why she said it. I guess her point was that if lightening hit my tree, I’d fall out of my hammock. But then again, they say that lightening never strikes the same place twice, so maybe her point was that I wasn’t actually in danger?? She was also a little strung out, so who knows if the statement had any meaning behind it at all. Either way, I still keep thinking about it.
One of the sad things about life is that lightening actually can strike the same place twice (pretty sure the MythBusters did an episode about it). Not only that, but it actually has a pretty high chance of hitting the same place twice. Extending the metaphor to life, the truth is that vulnerabilities that have knocked us down in the past are likely to knock us back down in the future. As an extremely optimistic person, it’s challenging for me to accept this fact. I would much rather believe that overcoming an obstacle is a one time deal.
That being said, I think we need to make an equally important observation about joy in life. One of the things I believe about joy is that it is born when we find ways to apply our unique strengths in meaningful ways. So just as our vulnerabilities make us susceptible to recurring pain, our strengths actually make us susceptible to recurring joy.
So next time you’re sitting in your hammock worrying if lightening is going to strike your tree twice, remember that you can actually make sunlight strike the same place twice.