I was never a real thinker until I propagated and spawned a little guru-brain. She has an uncanny way of delivering punch-in-the-gut philosophy in the form of seemingly innocent questions.
There we were, driving through downtown Sarasota, when she pointed out a vast building under construction right by the Ritz Carlton and the turquoise waters of the bay. Its location is only relevant because it sets the setting: here is the stunning Sarasota skyline, the perfect blue sky pierced by the odd dive bombing pelican, the crystalline waters sliced by a couple of grey dolphin fins. And there, like foul and violent eruption of concrete termite hills, are the new skyscrapers in progress.
Olivia asked me what they were building and why, and I explained that they’re developing luxury condos. Pouring millions and millions and millions of dollars and hours and hours and weeks and weeks of labor into pushing up these titanic ogres in the hopes that someone will pay $3.5 million for a 3 bedroom apartment.
“How do they know someone will buy one?” she asked.
“They don’t,” I said. “They have to trust.”
“Otherwise they’d never build anything…” she whispered, staring out of the window as we drove past, the thousands of gallons of newly solidified concrete reflected in her eyes.
Here we go again. Olivia makes some profound comment. Because yes, we do have to sacrifice some effort before we can expect our just rewards. The Law of Attraction is set in motion by action, a momentum that we ignite by intent, expectation and the first efforts to sow the seeds. There they are, the builders with their pants sagging down over their arse crack, their roll up ciggies hanging from their lips and their endless streams of sweat, contributing applied action to what is currently just a vision. Laying down the foundation, building the skeleton, pouring cement like it’s lifeblood.
“It is pretty ugly though,” I mumbled.
“It won’t always be, will it Momma?” said the little voice.
I almost puked right there in the car with the sudden realization that my life has so much in common with that massive steel turd. Time and time again I get a great idea, visualize its completion, set in motion right action towards it, and then stare at the circumstances in bafflement at how unfinished and ugly it looks. How can I have manifested this hideous concrete monstrosity, I wonder, when it was stunning architecture I had in mind?
It’s infuriating, because I actually enjoy dwelling in self-pity sometimes. And it takes my kid sometimes to remind me that this is what it looks like while it’s happening. Life may look like the opposite of what I designed right now, because the perspective I’m using in my scrutiny of it doesn’t include the potential. Which, as we all know, is unlimited. Offensive as the construction may be, every steel beam, piece of scaffolding, clunking clang and gallon of cement is in its perfect place so that the carefully and lovingly imagined architecture can emerge in its right time. And there, months from now, will stand a new sculpture on Sarasota’s turquoise bay, and it’ll represent a growth in economy in the multimillions. A worthy ideal for some, certainly. I must remember that next time I get into a spiral of self-criticism. This is what it looks like while it’s happening.
And so it is.
Elizabeth is a mom, author, minister of metaphysics, and reluctant bureaucrat. Her comic fantasy novel “Ascension Denied” is set in purgatory but is nonetheless available to the living, now, online, at all major retailers. Stay in touch through: