My friend Terry and I are on our way to Nada Hermitage near Crestone, CO, nestled Sangre de Cristo mountains. On the road today, it struck me that some billboards attempt to offer aphorisms of wisdom—“highway proverbs.”
An insurance company billboard claimed: “More is less,” which caused me to remember the truism that you can’t ever get enough of something you don’t really want, no matter how much of it you get. It’s also the case that more feels like less when we try to substitute more for deeper or higher or other.
A bank billboard said: “Strength in balance.” Whatever the bank meant, the phrase seems to me—on balance!—both right and wrong. On the one hand, the notion of balance can be used gets to mute genuine enthusiasm or to dampen authentic joy. Some people worry that, if they fully experience and express these emotions, they’ll seem “off-balance” in some way. On the other hand, a healthy balance of work and rest, togetherness and solitude, and strength and tenderness, is a very good thing.
A fitness center sign offered this encouragement: “Stretch your mind. Love your body.” These words reminded me about the array of ways in which mind and body are connected. Loneliness increases susceptibility to heart disease, so that people do, in a sense, die of a broken heart. We swallow our troubles and end up with ulcers. Or, we call a perplexing person “a pain in the neck.” In so many ways, mind and the body are integrally and reciprocally related
Though it wasn’t a straightforward proverb, a billboard for a yarn store in Selina, KS declared: “The Second Friendliest Yarn Store in the United States”! I don’t think it’s an example of humility. Just a different kind of yarn.