It was a gorgeous day. Birds were singin, the Sun was shinin', and he was just walkin'.
"La, la, tee, la, tee, dah, la, la, tee, dah" thought the man.
Suddenly, the Man saw that on the other side of the field was a big, hungry, mean-looking Tiger headed in his direction.
So the Man, being a very wise man, turned and began to run in the opposite direction.
"AHHHHHHHHH!" said the Man as he ran.
Finally, the Man came to the edge of a huge cliff at the other end of the field. As he looked behind him, he noticed that the Tiger was still in hot pursuit.
The Birds were still singin' and the Sun was still shinin' too, but the Man didn't notice. All he saw was the Tiger.
Then the Man noticed that hangin' off the side of the cliff was a huge bunch of dried grass.
And the Birds were singin', and the Sun was shinin', and the Tiger kept comin' closer.
So being a very wise man, the Man grabbed a hold of the grass, jumped off the side of the cliff and just hung there in the air.
And as he hung there off the side of the cliff, holding onto the clump of dried grass, he looked up and saw the Tiger, who was now looking down at him, licking his chops.
And the Birds were singin', and the Sun was shinin', and the Tiger was lickin', and the Man was just hangin' there.
Then the Man noticed that the cliff wasn't as high up as he had first thought it was. And so he began to look down for a safe place to land. But as he looked down, he noticed that there was...another Tiger...looking up at him, licking his chops.
And the Sun was shinin', the Birds were singin', and the two Tigers were slurpin' and the Man was just hangin' there in the air.
Then the Man noticed, at the top of the clump of grass that he was holding onto, there was a little Black Mouse, and a little White Mouse, who were both slowly chewing away at either end the clump of grass.
And the Sun was shinin', and the Birds were singin', and the Tigers were slurpin' and the Mice were chompin', and the Man was just...hangin' there in the air.
And as he hung there off the side of the cliff, the Man noticed that coming out of the side of the cliff, right in front of him, was one, huge, shiny, juicy, red strawberry.
And the Sun was shinin', and the Birds were singin' and the Tigers were growlin' and the Mice were snackin', and the Man was hangin', and the strawberry was just there...just...right...THERE.
So being a very wise man, the Man reached out, plucked the strawberry, popped it in his mouth, chewed it up, and swallowed it down.
And then he said, "That was a pretty good strawberry."
"Preacher, that was weird." you say.
OK. But watch this. First the BAD news:
Whether we like it or not, every single one of us is the man hangin' off the side of the cliff.
Sorry. But it's true.
There are many different opinions out there in the world as to what happens AFTER the Mice finish their lunch and the Tigers finish theirs. There are many, long, detailed, fascinating discussions you can have with people as to what happens after that.
But the ONE thing most people will agree on is that there WILL come a time when the Mice and the Tigers WILL finish their "lunch". For many people, this is a fact of life they'd rather not think too much about.
Some would rather pretend that there are no Tigers, no Mice, and no cliff at all.
And so they hang there off the side of the cliff, pretending not to notice the reality of the situation. Some try to drink this fact away, others eat it away, some work it away, some read it away, some play it away. Still others cleverly spend all their time day-dreaming it away, preferring to think of a "wonderful world to come" when everything will be perfect and as it should have been here, and in the process never really experience the world they are a part of now.
But whatever people do to try to escape it, it doesn't change the fact that there will come a day when this precious, one of a kind, moment we share, spent suspended in THIS air, off THIS cliff, will end.
That's just how it works.
The GOOD news is:
As you hang there waiting for the Tigers and the Mice to finish their lunch...
You can eat the strawberry or not...it's totally up to you.
As together we stand and sing.