Stephen Fahey: Impossible.

Every day we experience Impossible. It walks past us on the street. It cooks our food. It helps our kids across the street on their way to school. We don’t know that we’re looking at it or talking to it or being driven to the airport by it. But it’s right there, churning in the pit of the souls of those around us. Minute by minute, breath by breath, day after day, there is no way that we can know the private and individual battles of those around us. But still it burns bright in the guts of all but the very stupid. 

Sometimes it’s hides inside us. Watching us, twisting us up with words and circumstances and beating us over the head with undeniable facts from which we’d far rather run. Sometimes it’s in the tears of the broken. Sometimes it’s in the tears of the victorious. Sometimes it’s in the tap water that lobbyists fight to have raised to standard. But it’s always there.

If we search for Impossible we never find it. Once we see it, it morphs into something else. But it’s still that same cloud of chance that we encounter when we least want to. Always it is that which evades us as we seek it. And even if we could see it and tackle it and sink our teeth into its neck like savage shadows of ourselves, it would never die — because Impossible is immortal. It has haunted our ancestors and our elders and it will haunt our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

It’s a cousin of difficult and the sibling to unbearable. It’s the mother of doubt and an aunt to hope. But Impossible is more than a ghost in our pockets. It is fuel for the poets and the architects. It is food for the surgeons and the clowns. It is even camouflage for the insane. It unifies us as much as does water and love and greed. It binds us more than city walls and myths and hope. Like a flag it shrouds our daily ways as one fumbling effort that even the best of us cannot fight.

Yet, without pause, suggestion or insistence, Impossible remains just out of sight, latched onto the good and the evil in our hearts. It bonds the meek and the giants. It blurs the darting eyes of the masses as we trudge, strut, deny, gloat, brave, lie, cheat and steal our way through life. We never see it on the faces of the strangers we pass in the street. We never smell it on the throats of out lovers. We only ever sense it in ourselves when we are momentarily strong enough to deny our own pretensions and reach out to grasp what might come.

Simply, it’s easy to ignore Impossible. We all prefer to. But it eats up the stranger on the bus as much as it eats up you and me and the presidents of Peru, Afghanistan, Norway, Tunisia and Syria. There is every reason you can think of to keep plodding along, pretending Impossible doesn’t exist. Because it wants you to pretend that it doesn’t exist. It wants you to not read the scriptures and bath in the holy rivers and burn down the ancient forests and pave over the graveyard of the kings. It wants you to let it rip up the carpets of your patience. It wants you to let it paint your conscience a brutish pink. But you needn’t. It’s up to you, as always. You either let it slip by, greasy and vulgar and false, or you look it in the eye, acknowledge its game and refuse to play. It’s up to you.

Stephen Fahey

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