I witnessed a great act yesterday, a tremendous feat of courage and bravery. My friend asked for a new drink since his was flat. In that moment, firmly and gently, he asked for a new Mountain Dew and became a hero.
In elementary school I wanted to be a hero. I would hope each morning to wake up a mutant. Waiting for the bus I would test for latent powers: no telekinesis, no fire from the fingertips, bummer.
After a while I stopped testing, but I kept the desire for that great moment of transformation. “Maybe if I meditate enough, one day I’ll be enlightened.”
Too bad the apocalypse was a no show yesterday. That could’ve held all sorts of great moments. Maybe.
Cormac McCarthy convinced me that after the collapse there would eventually be cannibals. But nobody actively chooses. “hmmm, yep, I guess I’ll be a cannibal.” No it doesn’t happen like that!
Instead it would happen bit by bit. Some cannibal friends here, a hesitant nibble there. You’d think “hey I eat my fingernails right?” And BOOM before long you’re eating babies.
Okay, that’s overblown. But true story: I just went to the bathroom and a guy on the phone says: “I never wanted to be a roofer, but I guess here I am…”
The pivotal moments are really just the crest of a thousand moments before them. By then the momentum is too much to stop. It’d just be way too awkward.
That’s why I believe in micro transcendence. That transformation comes within each small moment.
My most courageous moments aren’t climbing big mountains, exploring the slums of Ghana or canoeing through the Amazon. Not even close. They are bringing up what is bothering me in a relationship or starting conversations with strangers. Courage is asking for a new Mountain Dew.
Cannibals aren’t made in a moment and neither are heroes. The seemingly pivotal moments just reveal what was building all along.