Saturday, September 17, 2011

PRETEND

Pretend you can have anything.

Pretend you can be anyone or anything you want.

It is said that pretending makes it so.

‘As [a person] thinketh in his heart, so is he …’ Proverbs 23:7

If thinking can make it so…

I think I am healthy. 
I have no aches or pains.
I need no pills.
I am happy.
I am rich - I have sufficient in every way.
I expect ….

I like this!

And it does work.
Beware: Pretend works for good or not so good.

My perception shifts just by thinking, saying and writing out such thoughts – whether consciously planning for the pretense to be true or not, thoughts do seem to become action.

As a teen I thought it was hilarious to pretend to smoke.  I didn’t actually smoke but I knew people that did. I didn’t particularly hang out with any of them enough to even really call them friends but we shared a mutual comaradarie that age and school can bestow.

There was a woman, that attended church with my parents, that was a bit of a gossip. We delighted in ‘setting her up’ – giving her things to talk about that were obviously shocking or untrue.  Among the kids I attended school with I was known to be ‘clean’ – no drugs, no tobacco, no booze.

We often left school grounds during lunch hours to wander around the stores and restaurants only 2 or 3 blocks away, just ‘cruising’ the sidewalks and hangin’ out in fluid knots of chatting, laughing groups.    

One day, while standing on a corner in such a knot I noticed Mrs. Gossip, minding her own busy business, coming along the street. One of the kids we had stopped to chat with was lighting a cigarette. “Hey, give me your smoke,” I said and he handed it over. (I did not smoke it. I just held it. It was just pretend and we all knew it - except her.)

When she happened to look up there I was, apparently unaware of her at all, seemingly smoking with my friends. It was such a joke! Everybody my age knew it was funny – we had so many great laughs about it. She took the bait hook, line and sinker.  Of course my parents were much wiser (although I suspect privately amused).

Not quite so funny are the associations cemented to friendships that day, and as we subsequently shared those laughs. I came to love and understand a troubled group of misfits whose later problems included substance abuse, suicide, abortion and some criminal activities.

Let me be clear – I did not at that time start to smoke. 
It was all pretend. 

As an adult I did smoke - for a short time.
It was one of my dumber phases.  
Because of those friends I learned how and where to get cigarettes and shared a lifestyle, when I was with them, of easy access to and expected use of tobacco.

What do you think?
What do you want?

Really.

What do you desire?

What do you pretend?