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May 2, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

No Problem Too Great to Be Run From

“Damn son, ya got a real interestin’ situation here,” Clint concurred before pausing for a moment. “Seems to me you got some resistance, which as you know, is always a good thing. God’s testin’ your willin’ness to set things right.”

“I know you’re sure of that, Clint,” Pitcairn responded, “but I never have liked resistance and I sure don’t think a God, that I don’t believe in, would choose to offer me resistance.”

The old man chuckled. “Hellfire, no one likes resistance ‘til they understand it’s the way of things. Divinely required …” He paused. “Yep, Divinely required even for those who don’t believe in the Divine.” Clint’s chuckle filled the line again before he continued. “How would your life be without gravity, son?”

Pitcairn sighed in response to a conversation they had repeated countless times. “I know what you’re getting ready to say, Clint. You’ve said it so many times I’ve got it memorized.” He changed his voice to mimic the gravelly tone of Jim P. “Cuddle up to fear and pain … the resistance. Make it your friend. See what it has to teach you.”

Clint laughed baldly. “Damn straight, Pitcairn. Damn straight. Ole Jimmy would love it that you’re quotin’ him. But you still don’t understand it, which is why you fight it. Nuthin’ in the world we know can be created without resistance. It’s not just gravity. It’s the metal form that allows injection molding of plastic or the hands of the potter that create a vase. Pain is the great gift that gits us into motion. Criminy, son, without resistance, nuthin’ happens.”

A long pause followed before Pitcairn replied. “Clint, how in the hell do you stay so upbeat about everything?”

His reply came instantaneously, “Immaculate deception!” Clint laughed before adding, “Ya just got to keep choosin’ your attitude, and if that means ya gotta fool yourself, then that’s what ya do. Eventually it ain’t phony no more. Every day really is another day in paradise. It just never looks like what ya expect.”

“Damn,” replied Pitcairn. “You are so smooth it’s frightening.”

“Damn straight.” Clint agreed. “Then there’s that other Jimmy P. bit, ‘Every day above ground is a great day.’” The roar of laughter that followed caused Pitcairn to laugh along with him. Clint added, “Keeps it real simple, don’t it?”

Pitcairn agreed then steered the conversation back to Mortensen. “What do you suggest?”

The flick of a lighter sounded over the line and Pitcairn heard Clint take a drag off a cigarette. He imagined the old man was looking skyward listening for guidance. A few seconds passed.

“Well son, seems to me that trying to bull your way through this is a bad idea. This here action you’re takin’ is supposed to be an amend, so ya need to relax and let God make the crooked places straight. Ya think you can give it a serious lettin’ alone while that God ya don’t believe in lines it up for ya?”

Pitcairn took a deep breath. “Yeah, I can do that. The last thing I need to do is add mischief and mayhem to an already prickly problem.”

Clint chuckled lightly. “Ya know, them spiritual gurus call this a matter of timin’. Ya can trust a solution is already barrelin’ at ya … but no way will it look like what ya expect.”

“Okay Clint. Is there anything else I ought to be doing?”

“Take a long walk. Have dinner with the little woman. Go to a meetin’ and shake hands with a wet drunk. You’ll know what to do next.”

Silence settled over Pitcairn before he continued. “I just remembered an old Peanuts cartoon where Snoopy is in some kind of a mess. He turns, walks away and says, ‘There is no problem too great to be run from.’”

“Smart dog, that Snoopy.” Clint paused. “And get some rest Pitcairn. This deal is gonna wear you out.”

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