Often, Max just sits and stares.
And often I want to join him, especially of late.
I admit, I do not know what is going through his mind in those times. I like to think he is pondering life’s big questions or how to redecorate the apartment. But for all I know he is contemplating how to finally beat me in a wrestling match or, most likely, when his next meal will be.
Whatever is going through his mind, the act of sitting and staring has a removed, pensive mood about it. It is as if with all that is going on the best he can do is stop, try to take it all in, and make some sense of things.
And that is exactly where I find myself these days. I feel I understand the world less and less, and that people are not acting as they should. Or maybe I fear I understand the world more and more as its brokenness is blaringly apparent.
Regardless, my heart and my head hurt for the pain so many people and communities face.
And Max has taught me that sometimes all you can do is sit and stare. The world is overwhelmingly tragic and all too often I just need more time to sort it all out and get my bearings.
Granted this is a blessing of being far enough removed from the tragedy that I don’t have to deal with it directly. And while I hope my sitting and staring is primarily an act of mourning for the brokenness, I know that it is also far too often merely a means of escape, a way to think through things but not really deal with them.
So, while sitting and staring can be cathartic, it is only appropriate sometimes. Max has taught me that sometimes all we can do is sit and stare. But just sometimes.
Most of the time, I have to get up and move too. For if I only sit and stare I will be stuck there forever. Things will continue to stay broken if I do not get up and help mend.
Max’s sitting and staring really does not last very long. He is far too eager to go and do things. And maybe that is the most important thing he has taught me about sitting and staring – that it should not last long. He has taught me not to let whatever is going on paralyze me.
He has taught me that sitting and staring is not the end, it is a beginning of moving toward hope. But that can only be so if the sitting soon turns to moving and the staring off in the distance turns toward seeing the possibilities of involvement and progress.
So thank you Max for teaching me that sitting and staring can be cathartic, but that it must only last for a moment so that acting toward and envisioning a better world can take its place.