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Duckweed &


by Todd Goodwin

Do we live in a fictitious world? Can we trust what we hear, see, touch, taste, and smell?  Have we traded truth for fantasy?  How can we tell the real world from a virtual world? Is the Matrix real?  Is artificial intelligence here to stay or is it a passing fade?  What new language is there to learn?  What new culture is there to acclimate to?


These questions and a million more run through my mind as we look at our bold new future. As I age and grow older, the questions that I have about this world and the next grow too. I am the quintessential 4-year-old who asks a thousand questions a day and runs around looking for the answers from everyone and everywhere. However, the difference between my 58-year-old-self and my 4-year-old-self is that the foundation and the fixed point of reference that I have built my life on is secure and immovable. Without that secure foundation, I would be like the florets (the “wishing star” seeds) of a dandelion that with a puff of wind break loose and float off to only God knows were. Or duckweed, a plant that grows on the surface of water, like ponds and lakes, and is at the mercy of the water, going wherever the water leads.


Unfortunately, this is the state of most of the world today. They are at the mercy of the culture, the newest ideas, the popular trends, or the babbling of whatever personality that hasn’t been cancelled by the social media police—I mean the social media elite—yet. The world has no secure foundation. Because we live in a culture where the foundation has been chipped at until the house has begun to tilt, people are looking for a way out or a way through. Most of the people’s way out is found in escapism. They can’t deal with the ever-changing world. This morning the world is one way, and by the afternoon everything seemingly has changed.


As humans, we like to be challenged. We like the thrill of adventure, and we desire the new and fresh. Yet, we innately want and need something we know we can depend on and anchor ourselves to.


I could go into a myriad of reasons why I believe we as a species find ourselves in a “duckweed” world. We live in a world of no absolutes, a world that is constantly changing, where truth has become a lie, right is wrong, up is down, and everything is a paradox. In the words of the TV show “Seinfeld”, we are living in “Bizarro world” where everything is in the opposite manner. This kind of world doesn’t offer hope. It only offers an ever-moving surface of principles and precepts of which we have no idea where it is going, a surface that you cannot get a firm footing on so that you can build a stable life. No wonder we have a world where escapism seems to be the best and only solution for any kind of sanity.


You might say, “Wow, Todd, you sure do paint a bleak picture of the world, don’t you?” Well, in order for you to get where you want to go, you have to know where you are first. Without knowing where you are, you won’t be able to navigate through the uncertainty of this world. Since the beginning, escapism is something that mankind has been doing. It comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some people use work to escape the perils of a bad home life, or home life to escape the drudgery of a never-ending cycle of work. Some people use TV and all the streaming services to escape into a world that they otherwise would never be able to live. Then some escape to a world of fantasy through AI and virtual reality so that they don’t have to deal with the anxiety of this world. I even know people who use the Church and religion to escape the pressures of life.

So, I ask the question: is escapism a bad thing? The answer is yes… and no. Life can be difficult and extremely hard to navigate, and sometimes we need to escape to a place were we can find solitude and peace. But, escaping to that place so that we don’t have to deal with the real world is not a healthy way of living. You will eventually get to a place to where it will be hard tell the difference between what’s real and what’s a fantasy. Why? Because you are so desperate to find hope and peace that you choose whoever and whatever brings it first. When you do, that’s where the enemy steps in and places the chains of dependency and deception on you to keep you in bondage to a world that will never be able to give you the peace and hope that only comes through an intimate and loving relationship with God.


You could argue that Christianity and the Church is a form of escapism. I would tend to agree with you. Yes, it is a way of escape. Why? Because I cannot deal with the pressures, anxieties, difficulties, and sufferings of this life on my own. I need someone greater than me. I need someone who is never changing, a solid foundation that does not give way to the ever-changing societies, education systems, governments, business, technology, and etcetera. The world is forever changing.


I need a Savior. Yes, I am not the master and commander of my own life, and neither are you. You may think you are, but you’re not. That statement offends your soul (i.e., your mind, will, and emotions). “Who are you to tell me that I am not in control of my life?” You might rebut. Well, I’m not the one saying it; God is. Yes, He may have allowed us free will, but we are all a pawn in the devil’s chess game unless we surrender our life to the one who never changes.


If I am my own fixed point of reference, then how can I see beyond myself? How can I truly know the difference between fantasy and reality? I learned this lesson over the past three years during Covid. Before you stop reading, hear me out. I am not saying that Covid wasn’t real. I am saying that during an insanely, crazy, and mixed-up time in our world, it was hard to know what was real and what was “fake” or fantasy. What gave me hope, peace, and direction during those unpredictable times was my firm foundation in what God had already established since the beginning of time: His faithfulness. “Oh, there you go again getting all spiritual and religious on me,” you might snip. Well, spiritual, yes. Religious, no! My faith in God has nothing to do with religious regulations, restrictions, and/or rules. It has everything to do with a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.


I remember I was standing in line at a local retail store in 2021, waiting to conduct my business. Looking around, I saw some people with masks on and some without masks. They were looking around suspiciously at others, wondering if they had the virus, and the tension in the store was almost palpable. While observing this, I just started singing a song I made up on the spot. “I am not afraid/ You will keep me safe/ I am not afraid/ ‘cause You’ll always make a way/ And even in the nights/ when things don’t turn out right/ I keep my eyes on You/ because I am not afraid.” I wasn’t bellowing it out like some kind of musical, but softly singing under my breath. After a couple of choruses, the tension in the room began to subside. I wasn’t denying the fact of the circumstances. I was simply saying that there is One who lives above the circumstances, so that is who I will trust.


In a world that is always changing, that is floating like duckweed, and that can be swept away as quickly as dandelion florets, I am putting my trust and hope in the One who never changes, the One who is so vast and immense that it will take us the first hundred-thousand years with Him just to learn one simple thing about Him. 

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