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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

TITLE: Doing the Impossible
By TJ Nickel


If someone does the impossible, doesn’t it retroactively make it possible? What is this “impossible” stuff anyway other than a category of challenges to overcome? I’m not sure I’ll ever know how many reds are in the number four, or how many triangles are in the color yellow, but maybe one day (just maybe) there’ll be answers for that too. Today, people call these questions nonsense questions, questions of absurdity to which there are no possible answers. These same people think there is so much reason in the world that impossibilities have concreteness in them; mainly because they believe in reason and they think absurdities are unreasonable. I think skepticism is alive and well and reinserts itself into the world because it has never been adequately answered. Yet, how do we answer reductions to absurdity with reason if they are grounded in the absurd? Why does all of this matter?

It matters because I get a great kick out of the smallest of things, smiling while understanding the basic things in life to be absurdly impossible.

I smile in my car when I pass somebody on the highway. I smile playing Tag with my four year old and her friends. The drivers in other cars must think I’m a bit of a nut for grinning ear to ear in that way. The four year olds think I know what it is to be four when I smile so much at tagging them and rejoice when they tag me. Maybe both are a bit true, but here’s the reason…

The rabbit chases the tortoise after giving him a head start and doesn’t win the race in the end. We have all heard a version of the story. One that isn’t remembered (for it was introduced by a skeptic) is that the rabbit (Achilles) simply cannot catch the tortoise because to catch anything is nonsense. The tortoise, given a head start, cannot be caught because the rabbit has to catch it by doing something very reasonable. Because the tortoise is leading and moving, the rabbit must get to where the tortoise’s previous position was before it can ever catch it. This being the case, the rabbit will always be catching up to the tortoise and will never catch it. To do so is impossible. “Catching anything” is absurd; to pass something, equally as absurd; to succeed, ever, in playing Tag, equally absurd.

How fun it is to do impossible things! I love grinning and rejoicing like a four year old in complete grounding of reason - reason grounded in absurdity.

Last week I stood on a mountain and asked it to move. Nothing happened. I suppose I’m not quite ready. I plan to try again. Have you ever tried it? Do you really believe something can happen when doing this?

The impossible is life, is breathing, is moving, is catching, is moving mountains. In the end, doing one impossible thing in comparison to another impossible thing is equivalent. So, go move a mountain today! If your brain asks you in an incredulous tone, “Can you do that?” Answer, “It’s as easy as playing Tag.”

Moving a Mountain

Eyes closed
Standing at the foot of a mountain…

Oh, mountain
Move, I say
Without doubt
That you’ll obey
Be cast, and flip
Upon your peak
For I am not
One of the meek
This hypothetical if
…I took it to heart
To test this man
Knocking on my heart
Be cast now
Into the sea
If He’s to get
My heart’s key

Eyes open
Standing at the foot of a mountain…

Lord of Lords
King of Kings
I can no longer
Bear these things
Whether or not
The mountain moves
For my key’s master
You I choose
I had no doubts
Faith to move mountains
Yet had no love
From Spirit Fountains
Into my life
You may now spring
Forget the mountain
…I fear nothing *

Eyes closed
Standing at the foot of a mountain…

Too near to flee
Has me clinging
Dear to Thee
Piled so high
Can’t see its top
Must be so high
It never stops
This sixth day
In fallen sin
Too much for man
To ever win
I know the seventh
Cost you dear
Please Lord will You
Wipe this tear
…From my closed eyes
Before this world
Now in love and You
I’ll be unfurled

Eyes open…

The mendacious mountain
In the sea
Lord of Lords and me
…In amity

Author’s Note:

* In reference to 1 Corinthians 13:2 “…and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (RSV).

Matthew 21:21 and Mark 11:23 both discuss the moving of a mountain through faith.

1 John 4:18 states “…perfect love casts out fear…” (RSV).

The * verse is intended as a double entrende, meaning both a fear of being the nothing mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:2, and standing in the perfect love mentioned in 1 John 4:18.

Finally, the skeptic reducing “catching” to absurdity is Zeno in the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise. He does the same for space and motion in other paradoxical arguments from Greek skepticism.

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This article has been read 855 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne05/07/07
I think I finally understand your pov here. I feel like the poem would stand better alone. The beginning article confused me a little. Maybe it was too deep for me. But the poem is very good and easily can hold its own alone. Good job.
Jan Ackerson 05/08/07
Lots and lots of wonderful stuff here, but the thing that touched me most was the phrase "whether or not the mountain moves..." It's like the three men in the fiery furnace, who said "even if he does not..." Lord, give me that unconditional faith!

Was also tickled by your use of "amity." I have done my job.
Joanne Sher 05/10/07
Just full of things to ponder! Feels like one of those pieces I will "get" more and more each time I read it.