One in the Cuckoo’s Nest

Sometimes, life imitates art imitating life.

Every once in a while, when the world seems to be spinning at a billion miles an hour and the circumstances of my life seem more than I can bear, I have this little ritual I do that helps me slow things down and take them in stride. It’s nothing fancy, really; it’s not even a ritual per se, more of an awareness that I call to mind and own and immediately feel comforted by.

I sit in my office, or my car, or wherever I may be, and I tell myself I’m crazy.

Good old fashioned Looney Tunes. Grab the straight jackets and the butterfly nets because one flew over the cuckoo’s nest, so send in the men in their little white coats because they’re coming to take me away C-R-A-Z-Y.

I admit this, and I feel better. It’s crazy. But that’s the point.

I’m all about logic and reason, normally, but sometimes I have to stop and admit that the world doesn’t really function that way. If it did, some of the stuff that goes on wouldn’t; and if you don’t believe me, go read the Freeh Report on Penn State and tell me where the logic and reason is in that situation. If, at heart, the world functioned in a way that made complete sense and fit rationally and logically in neat categories, things would be a lot different.

But things don’t fit neatly into categories. Heck, they don’t even fit neatly into generalizations. The world, despite our careful attempts at a logical and orderly veneer, is chaotic. A mess. A swirling, raging storm of illness and nonsense.

We struggle mightily to deny this, of course. We use words and trains of thought to attempt to bring order to the madness. We soothe ourselves with compassionate action and well-intentioned service. We seek the balm of Gilead in our sensitive lives, but eventually we grow tired of the pretending, we grow raw from the chafing of our attempts to force chaos into logic’s little box, and we give in.

We lose hope.

We declare that nothing has any meaning and there’s no way forward. Chaos wins. Madness reigns. And we just have to accept that reality.

On our darkest days, we are Randall Patrick McMurphy, and the world is our asylum. You can pick your own Nurse Ratched.

That’s why it helps for me to admit that, if the world is crazy, then I’m crazy too. I didn’t come into existence independent of the universe – I am exactly what the universe produces and could never hope to become different. I am crazy. Broken. Twisted. Insane. And by owning that fact, I am relieved of my guilt for not being able to change it. My burden becomes lighter because I know that I cannot do the impossible.

Someone greater than me has to do it. Someone beyond the madness. Someone who can understand it but transcend it at the same time. Point me to that person and let me put my trust in him/her; let me throw myself at his/her feet and ask to be rescued from the madness, from the darkness, from the asylum and Ratched’s too-powerful established madness of her own. I will gladly confess my insanity, my brokenness, my lack of utter ability to do anything for myself and seek refuge within the one who can bring order to bear on chaos. Let me fall on the one who said, “Come to me if you’re tired of your burden, and I will give you complete rest.”

I often forget all of this, but it doesn’t take life long to remind me that sometimes the sanest person in the asylum is the one who admits he’s insane.

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