I am mad.
To me, ‘mad’ has two different meanings. One is ‘angry’; the other is ‘insane.’ Both appropriate.
How I got to this place is unimportant. Could’ve been stress, big expectations, or a bad lot of shrimp. No matter. I am mad.
Now that this has been accepted and acknowledged, what do I do with this information? Do I want the madness to cease? Do I want a ‘normal’ life or one that has no expectations because no one will ever know what to expect from me? Or do I want to rein this in and function in the world as it is?
I do not have an answer. Nor do I have the desire to find one. But I am not frightened of the madness.
One must be vigilant to be mad. There are those in the world who desire to change the mindset of the mad and ‘turn them around.’ If one is not careful and allows the vigilance to lapse at all, one could find him/herself babbling incoherently in a suit and tie or an evening dress.
One must be very accepting to be mad. The world views madness with fear and scorn. Mad ones must be able to accept what may come with the dignity and assurance that they are on the right track.
One must be spiritual to be mad. If one hears the voice of God (or Fred or Jolene), then one is truly honored and should accept their new gift humbly, prayerfully, and thankfully.
Oh, and one must be thankful to be mad. If one is homeless and mad, then spending three of the four seasons outside to watch nature bloom is a joy. The ability to stop and smell everything is a gift. The fourth season can be problematic, but there are those who will help the mad ones during this coldest of seasons. If one is home-full, then the joy of watching all four seasons through the window, whether it is barred or not, can still be a joy. There may even be an advantage to being home-full rather than homeless: no mosquitoes.
One must be confident to be mad. It takes a great deal of self-assurance to give a ‘bus stop lecture’ to an audience of none. But the lecture must contain enough skewed truths to be alarming.
One must be human to be mad. Now of course, only humans can be mad (except for cows and dogs and bats and cats and rabbits and birds, etc.) But mad humans have one thing over mad animals: Mad humans usually don’t get shot or treated for rabies. However some mad humans do receive flea dips.
One must be appreciative to be mad. Usually, there are those who helped the mad one to arrive at this place of bliss. Never forget those who encouraged you on your way. They have done a great service and are deserving of their due.
One must have stamina to be mad. Having a stone bed upon which to lay one’s head does not a good night’s sleep induce. There are days, especially when the mad one is homeless, that food is not an easy find. But the mad one, ever sure of his/her place in society, knows needs will be met – eventually.
Above all, one must be merry to be mad. This may not be the lot one had wanted, but by cracky, it’s the lot one has, so why not make the best of it? Don’t stand at the end of the freeway ramp in old brown clothes; find brightly colored shirts to wear so the cardboard sign you’re holding won’t fade into the shirt you’re wearing. At least encourage those who see you to smile. That could be the only smile they have had that day, and think of the gift you have given!
So to be mad you need to be:
Now, only a truly mad one would look at the above list and see more that there is. If one takes the first letters of each mad requirement, one will find the true nature of madness:
V A S T C H A S M
Romans 9:18-20 (The Message):
All we’re saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill. Are you going to object, “So how can God blame us for anything since he’s in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?” Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?”