I don’t know if it’s true but I heard once that Buckminster Fuller woke up blind one morning for no apparent reason. And then, some time later, he woke up one morning sighted again for no apparent reason. He reentered the world with more curiosity than before, more appreciation for beauty and science, a greater ability to problem solve and invent, full of passion and life.
Then there’s the space shuttle. It shakes and ricochets its way back to earth, nearly blown to bits in the end. It reenters Earth’s atmosphere tattered and charred.
For most of the week since El Salvador I’ve felt like Buckminster Fuller. But tonight I was the space shuttle.
Out of nowhere I got mad – really mad – at the audience. They didn’t do anything wrong. It was a completely irrational feeling that came over me. I didn’t say anything inappropriate to them – no finger gestures or four lettered words. I just sang and told my stories as usual, like everything was fine, but it wasn’t fine.
I was angry.
I was angry at the guy checking his watch while I sang asking God to take me from this world and on to one that has no time or worries.
I was angry at the girl, stage left, texting while I told the story of a girl in Kolkata who needed nothing but God in order to be happy.
I felt self-righteous – like I was the one guy in the world with eyeballs. I felt humbled – like there’s nothing I can say or do to make anyone care about the things I care so deeply about. Arrogance and futility: powerful stuff.
I caution bloggers about the dangers of reentry at the end of our trips together. We all handle the process differently. Some people get bored with life at home, failing to sense the same amount of purpose in doing laundry, taxiing kids to soccer practice or shuffling papers around on a desk all day as they’ve experienced in speaking for the voiceless poor all week. Some people get religion, giving and serving more in order to placate guilt or thinking they can get further into God’s good graces. Some people get depressed, overwhelmed by the poverty and darkness they’ve seen, forgetting the hope they encountered along the way.
I get angry. And if I don’t talk about it I burn up.
I get tired of trying to make people care – of telling my stories and singing my songs to people who appear to be unmoved…by everything.
I’m in a hotel room now and the feeling has passed. I’m thankful for the 18 kids who were sponsored, the handful of great conversations I had after the show, the hugs and sincere well-placed words of encouragement. I’m Mr. Fuller again – alive, inspired and passionate, praying I don’t catch on fire tomorrow.
Pray me safely back to Earth, will ya?