3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by Dad
Around the ages of 11-13, you receive a beach ball. The ball is fully inflated and you’re instructed to keep the ball in the air while you do all the other things necessary during your day.
When brushing your teeth, you keep hitting the ball in the air. When eating, studying, working, playing, sitting, driving, ordering, shopping, running, walking, waiting, rushing, etc. You keep the ball in the air.
You’re told that the ball is to remind you that you are not in control and that you must rely on an unseen power. They tell you this because then they tell you it’s okay if you drop the ball as long as you pick it up again. That the most motivation they give you, that if you drop it, as long as you pick it up again, you’ll be fine.
You do your best to keep the ball in the air. You drop it a few times while doing your hygiene routine but pretty soon it becomes second nature to keep the beach ball in the air.
The only time the keeping up becomes a problem is when you study. Your mind focuses deeply on the books you’re reading and for those moments you completely forget about the ball and everything said about it. Then you close the book, see the ball and pick it right back up again, tossing it into the air and keeping it up.
Pretty soon you start to think deeply outside of the books. You find yourself detaching the symbolism of the ball from the action you’re observing. You realize it’s becoming a nuisance, maybe even an unnecessary distraction. But you keep it up because they told you all sorts of things to scare you: “Without that constant reminder that you are nothing without the unseen power, you’ll shrivel up and die.”
Then you become angry, realizing that many people do not keep beach balls in the air and they do not look shriveled in the slightest. In fact, they seem more capable of engaging with and participating in the world around them.
You walk up to one of them and ask, “What happened to your beach ball?”
They say, “I dropped it a long time ago and never picked it up again.”
“Why?” You ask.
“I found that when I focused on what I knew, the world became less abstract. I found that the beach ball had really become a reminder that I don’t know as opposed to what it was intended to be, a reminder that an unseen is in control.”
You think, then ask, “So how do you answer those questions the beach ball answers?”
“I don’t. I’ve found that one of the phrases rarely stated confidently is ‘I don’t know’ yet when it is given as an answer, I feel closer to others than any sort of beach ball brotherhood because it reaffirms that we all don’t know, together.”