There is an old adage that states: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It's a statement commonly referred to in our culture as Murphy's Law (You can find more about it ) and I believe that it underlies the inherent self-doubt, kindness paranoia, and basic mistrust of humanity.
Murphy's Law is often referred to in the context of day to day life situations. For example, imagine with me that you have a friend Susie. Susie, like many little girls, has been dreaming of her ideal wedding since she was 4. She has a lifetime subscription to several bridal magazines, and regularly cuts out pictures of wedding gowns, venues, bridesmaid dresses, and grooms in perfectly tailored custom suits. Susie FINALLY meets the man of her dreams, and plans a BEAUTIFUL outdoor wedding in late June when the weather is sure to be "just perfect". She has every detail planned with painstaking care: Beach venue, flowers, linen, sunshine, tiki torches, special ordered 3 layer cake, simple yet decadent gourmet catered meal, and reception tent complete with tables, linens, chairs with matching covers, and exotic floral centerpieces. There is a musician for cocktail hour, a band for the reception, and a DJ for the late-night crowd. In short, this wedding is a veritable work of art which will surely be used to educate future brides in the delicate intricacies of bride-dom. Unlike every other wedding known to man, planning goes perfectly. Her and her groom are in full agreement, her wedding party is on task, and her family is supportive and helpful. All is well with the world...and then Susie meets Murphy.
The day before the ceremony, the cocktail musician calls from his hospital bed with a case of pneumonia. No big deal. The Dj will just play something pre-recorded. Then, as she takes her dress out to take one last look, she catches the lace boddess on the zipper, and rips a huge chunk out of the front of the dress. That night, at the bachelor party, her groom in shining armor has a BIIIIT too much to drink, and ends up doing some things that he'll never remember, and she can never forget. Wedding day comes, she puts on her tough face (this is her day after all), puts her dress on...fixed as well as could be done in an evening...and heads to the venue to discover that the DJ's equipment isn't working. A short of some kind in a cable or an amp or an audio component SOMEWHERE in the chain...so no music. She then discovers her flowers are the wrong color, the linens are soaked after an evening rain, and one of the bridesmaids ran off with a groomsman.................Hello Murphy. Nice of you to show up. This example is a bit extreme, but you get my point. Murphy is an a-hole.
These types of mishaps are a virtually universal experience, so we try to plan for them as best we can. Usually we can keep Murphy at bay for the most part in the events of our everyday lives. But Murphy, being a shrewd businessman, diversifies his efforts. The place where he does his best work is in people. He works his cruel magic in the words of promises made within the throes of passion or anger or even simple ignorance. He is within veiled insults, or backhanded compliments. His influence rings aloud in scandal, in controversy, in failed good deeds. There is a reason that the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. We start off well, we mean well, but then at some point we run into Murphy, and we are derailed. He speaks, we listen, we choose to act. And as a result, many of us as a culture are wary of anyone or anything that appears to have non self-serving intentions. We have been conditioned to believe that anyone who appears to be selfless must be lying. We automatically assume that all charity must have an ulterior motive. We doubt the concept of innate good. We have become a society of chronic disbelievers.
And why is that? What is it about a kind look, or a compliment, or even an act of charity that sends people's "spidey sense" into a tingle? I think the situation varies from person to person, with each life-path and set of experiences relating to each of us personally and uniquely. But I get the sense that for all us, deep down beneath the years of hurt and below the layers of bitter soul infection, that Murphy is to blame. Murphy has taught us that no good thing can be trusted, and that ultimately "all good things must come to an end." If we all have an inner child, Murphy is the schoolyard bully that takes their lunch money and shoves them in a locker.
So how do we battle something like this? How in the world do we fight something we can't control? How can we learn to trust when all of our experience tells us to clam up, close up, and shut up? I don't know that there is any one simple answer, except trust: the choice to simply take things at face value. I'm not saying it's easy...in fact, it might be the hardest thing we will ever have to learn to do. All I know is that, like faith, like courage, like perseverance, trust takes a bit of gumption that takes a step forward when reality does all in its power to drive us backward. All I know is that we must step out. We must fight. We must learn to trust before the bitterness of our wounds festers into an infection so deep it clouds the very emotions that make us human. We must fight because we have too much to lose. We must fight...because the alternative is death.
Certain and inevitable death. Death in as universal a manner as we can understand. Perhaps, not in the physical sense. For a time, our bodies will continue breathing, our minds will carry on driving our organs to function, our hearts will maintain the staunch driving of music-less rhythm, but we will be most certainly lifeless. In that which makes us human, we will be dead. The piece of us which contains our very humanity, that which separates us from the animal kingdom: Emotion, Reason, Compassion, will cease to exist. And we will be what pop music means to make us; Mere animals. Our humanity will be no more. Make no mistake; Murphy means to end humanity. And we must fight him.
We must fight to believe even when the evidence tells us otherwise. We must fight to trust, even when the pain of our past failures and failed relationships bid us turn and run. We must fight to love. We must fight to forgive. We must fight to heal. We must once again become a generation of dreamers. We must shake off the shackles of fear and pain and choose to love, even when that love costs us everything...because it is worth everything. We must choose the road that leads away from ourselves, and towards our fellow man. We must begin to slowly unravel and unlearn and undo what Murphy has taught our generation. Murphy is the voice of fear. We must, with one voice, learn to shout back into the darkness with the voice of hope. Desperate, grasping, tight holding, unwavering, life-giving hope. We will only win this battle together, but we can only begin this journey individually. It must begin with us, and it MUST lead us together.
We must fight Murphy. For our own sake, and for the sake of future generations, we must fight. And we must win.