Stuck in Lodi

IS ADVENTURE ONLY FOR THE YOUNG? Is it important to be on some sort of quest no matter our age?

Harper, Stuck. A few years back.

Harper, Stuck. A few years back.

Stuck in Lodi again?

In my last post I started with a quote from Tom Sawyer: “There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.” But what about grown men? Should we metaphorically “play in the street” from time to time?

Stuck in Lodi again?

Guys are pretty good at seeking adventure vicariously. Show me a little league ball team, soccer team or Pop Warner football team and I’ll show you at least one guy living the athetic dream through his kid. Not to cast stones though; every time one of my two sons would sit down at a set of drums I was sitting there too somehow. Is there an age limit on picking up a pair of sticks?

Stuck in Lodi again?

I don’t know about you, but I find it easier and easier to create lists of excuses: I’m not as young as I once was. Too busy. Don’t have the money. Prudence is a virtue too. (Isn’t it?). Folly is for fools. And on, ad nauseum.

Stuck in Lodi again.

I hear old guys talking about having earned the right to “coast” for awhile as if that were virtuous. To state the obvious: if you’re coasting, you’re going downhill. It can all start with just coasting. Then before you know it we’re:

Stuck in Lodi again.

But being stuck isn’t just for old guys. Amen?! There is an abundance of young people glued to impractical worldviews, bad relationships, unfulfilling jobs, distorted self images and unrealistic expectations. Not all, but some, at least some of the time are:

Stuck in Lodi again.

There I go again, throwing rocks without proper credentials (as in, “let him who is without sin cast the first rock”). Recently I went to my doctor for something called a “Welcome to Medicare Wellness Visit.” Sort of like an annual physical. I was poked proded and interrogated. One of the questions was, “Are you having feelings of depression?” My response: “I wasn’t until this all started.” Nothing quite says “you’re stuck in the senior spiral” like a mandatory “Welcome to Medicare Visit”.

Oh Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again.

Maybe the thing that most keeps us stuck is fear. “Stay in the harbor where it’s safe.” “You go ahead. I’ll watch from here.” A few words on the subject from Seth Godin:

I’m listening to a speech from ten years ago, twenty years ago, forty years ago… “During these tough times… these tenuous times… these uncertain times…” And we hear about the urgency of the day, the bomb shelters, the preppers with their water tanks, the hand wringing about the next threat to civilization.

At the same time that we live in the safest world that mankind has ever experienced. Fewer deaths per capita from all the things that we worry about.

Risky? Sure it is. Every moment for the last million years has been risky. The risk has moved from Og with a rock to the chronic degeneration of our climate, but it’s clear that rehearsing and fretting and worrying about the issue of the day hasn’t done a thing to actually make it go away. Instead, we amplify the fear, market the fear and spread the fear as a form of solace, of hiding from taking action, of sharing our fear in a vain attempt to ameliorate it.

Stuck in Lodi again.

If you’re old enough and/or if you have refined musical tastes in southern rock, you know of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the epitome of the genre. And probably by now the tune of the CCR song, “Lodi” is running through your head. It is a song about a musician, one of the struggling, starving kind, trying to get unstuck, but clearly it’s about way more than that, that Lodi is more than a town on a map. Like Fogarty says in the first verse: 

“I guess you know the tune.
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.”


By John Fogarty
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Just about a year ago
I set out on the road
Seekin’ my fame and fortune
Lookin’ for a pot of gold
Thing got bad and things got worse
I guess you know the tune
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again

Rode in on the Greyhound
I’ll be walkin’ out if I go
I was just passin’ through
Must be seven months or more
Ran out of time and money
Looks like they took my friends
Oh Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again

A man from the magazine
Said I was on my way
Somewhere I lost connections
Ran out of songs to play
I came into town, a one night stand
Looks like my plans fell through
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again

If I only had a dollar
For every song I’ve sung
Every time I had to play
While people sat there drunk
You know, I’d catch the next train
Back to where I live
Oh Lord, stuck in a Lodi again
Oh Lord, I’m stuck in a Lodi again

How do we get STUCK? Maybe it starts with just settling; as in: settle for less than what we might have hoped for; and, as in: settle down—become comfortable, secure, boring even. I really like the ad series that’s playing right now about the Settlers: “We’re settlers, that’s what we do, we settle.”

If you haven’t seen it, click and watch.

So what’s the answer to not getting stuck or getting unstuck? It’s not a simple formula that’s for sure. You can’t read a book and solve it. A large donation to a TV evangelist won’t do it. A political messiah is useless.

The answer is a paradox: to find yourself, you have to lose yourself. And as far as I can tell you have to actually live it out; experience it, to even begin to understand it.

“Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.” —Jesus. (Matthew 10:39)

I’m sure sometimes, maybe, “Lodi” or the Wilderness can be a nice place; for a time, but I wouldn’t want to get stuck there