Wondering Where the Lions Are

I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren’t half as frightening as they were before
But I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me…

— Bruce Cockburn, “Wondering Where the Lions Are”

I’m a few minutes from sleep yet, but this song comes to me tonight. It’s been some week. On my last post, the one with the picture of a shark flying out of the water, Hayden asked, “Shark Week?” To which I replied, “Yes, and I’m wearing sealskin underwear.”

Last Friday I had a meeting with our CEO who told me our business was heading into an interesting week. I’m guessing that most people’s jobs, when they get “interesting” probably don’t involve the media. My job, however, does and it turned out that two unrelated events were heading our way that the local and even national press would find hard to ignore. Neither were pleasant, and neither were a shock, but it was surprising for them to fall in such proximity to each other. My job as well is two-fold: messages for the media and for our employees — and only one of those two groups enjoys bad news.

One, of course, was layoffs. It was almost a relief for the crew, however, as folks had known it was coming and it had been stressful for many while waiting to find out how bad and how deep, while calculating one’s own prospects to stay or go. Even if you were relatively safe it’s hard not to ponder what you’d do while hurtling toward the inevitable. It was a sobering week, though our portion of the business was relatively unscathed. Still, we’re a small group and even a few losses are felt; no one is nameless or faceless. Even if the cup passes you by it’s hard not to think of the individuals and families involved. It does tend to focus you a bit, especially if you think, “What if it had been me?”

Same with riding in a crashing airplane. The news today of a US Airways jet taking off from LaGuardia and ending up in the Hudson River — miraculously without loss of life — is the type of story that you can’t help but picture yourself belted in and, again, hurtling toward the inevitable, with only moments to review your decisions, regrets and priorities. Now there’s no time to change anything, barely time to pray, and yet how heavy some choices must be as they seem to drag across your mind. “If I get out of this…” you might think. Then what? I thought, this afternoon after reading the news, of the time on that Iowa highway in the winter white-out when I moved to the left and the semi-truck careened through those on the right, taking others but not me. Changes were made, and here I am, the man I am today.

I had another chance. Those on the airplane today have another chance. Those in my office, whether staying or departing, each will have another chance, though it may come to us in different ways. Rather than be scary, or depressing, it becomes stimulating, even after the adrenaline fades and only clarity remains. And then the words of another Bruce Cockburn song come to my, and I can smile.

Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by
You never get to stop and open your eyes
One day you’re waiting for the axe to fall
And next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This vibrant skin this hair like lace
Spirits open to the thrust of grace
Never a breath you can afford to waste

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time…

We’ve got some daylight coming to us. It may take awhile, but it’s coming. Be ready.

2 thoughts on “Wondering Where the Lions Are

  1. Yeah, that’s a classic, but right now the way things are and with the government printing Monopoly money as fast as it can, I think we’re “Waiting for a Miracle.”

Leave a Reply