You’ve heard it. You have probably said it at point or another. a few dirty words.
“Time to get back to the real world.”
This phrase inflicts all kind of frustration and malice in my heart. You know, after you just spent a wonderful vacation scaling mountains or swimming in the cool, salty ocean or even a really great weekend of doing absolutely nothing. “Well, I guess it’s time to get back to the real world.”
What does this even mean? Is sitting in an office under glaring flourescent lights and worrying about silly problems, that in the end, don’t really matter all that much – the “real world?” Is holding a grudge against a coworker because of some ridiculous disagreement you just had – the real world? Is production, progress, forward motion and efficiency the real world?
If so, I would beg to differ. I challenge us all to shift our focus. I would like to think that reality or the “real world” is a world in which we are thriving. A world of flowing movement and peaceful reflection, a world in which we can be at peace with our surroundings and not worried about deadlines, success or progress. Wouldn’t it make more sense, after a long week of meetings and phone calls and important emails sent, we might break for a measly two days and say, “time to get back to the real world.” To me, the real world consists of dirt and sky and birds singing, idle moments of quiet on a front porch followed with a sense of peace at not moving forward.
In The Peace of Wild Things, Wendell Berry wrote:
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I want to “rest in the grace of the world.” The real world, that is.