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Remember a fun field day event called an egg walk or maybe egg race? Contestants fast walk toward a mark downfield and return to the starting point carrying a tablespoon with egg on it in one hand. The object is to get back as quickly as possible without dropping the egg and before everyone else. The trick is to move as fast and as carefully as we can without losing the egg. I remember this being an Easter event on the White House lawn in times past.
I know this is a homely simile, but life is like an egg walk. This is true from individuals to nations. We may move too fast. We may move too slow. Things and persons are broken along the way. Goals take a lot of care in their achieving. We must keep moving carefully and with deliberate speed. Many times, we need to try again, even if we may fail again. What we carry with us in life is fragile and easily dropped. There will be missteps. Every now and then we make it (some of us) to a goal without breaking the eggs.
As we seek to control our outcomes, there is always a tension between quick and slow decision making. Decisive and impetuous are not the same. Neither are cautious and cowardly. Control itself can be illusive. There are too many variables in the irregular terrain of life for any of us to think we are fully in control of anything. Yet, we keep moving, doing the best we can, even when our best falls short of the mark. As to the matter of brokenness along the way, that’s part of being a contestant. Life is risky. Life is fragile.
The spectators are always present at the big egg walk. It’s fun to watch and have opinions about the performances of the contestants. We cheer the smooth operators, especially if they are of our special people. We tend to watch with quick critique the other contestants who may do well or who may bobble, misstep, or drop the egg. Tribes of spectators may cheer or jeer or laugh, but they aren’t out there in the field spoon and egg in hand. Then there’s the wiseacre spectators, who know all about the egg walking albeit from the sidelines.
I respect the egg walkers, except possibly the ones who do not play fair. In very small spheres of influence, I used to be one. I made some goals. I dropped some eggs. I also know what it is like to hear the spectators both cheers and jeers. Funny thing about the event, if you are too distracted by either the cheers or jeers, you almost always drop the egg. If we get bitter about this, we might be tempted to shove our empty spoon into a thoughtless spectator’s hand and say, “Make my day punk.” On the other hand, we might civilly take our place on the sidelines and encourage anyone who takes up the spoon. That is, for those who will play fair.
Perhaps and egg walk is very appropriate for the White House lawn, under any administration at any time.