Brief thoughts about the story of the Zax

I was watching Dr. Suess with my daughter…  the story of the Zax and found it to be a fascinating moral to the story…  if you’re not familiar: there is a north going Zax and a South going Zax who meet at an impasse.  The two refuse to move, in perfect rhyme of course.  They stand in the same place insisting that they cannot adapt to this troublesome situation.  Stubborn as can be they stand in one place and refuse to move.  They stand unchanged and undaunted, as the world around them goes on.  Dr. Suess even illustrates a highway and a small town growing up around them.  It’s a brilliant illustration.

You see, the expected moral is that you should accommodate people to continue on your path.  The South going Zax could simply move to one side and allow the North going Zax to pass by, but that’s not what Dr. Suess is getting at.  The story shows that the world keeps going with or without you.

I think this is particularly valuable when talking about community and conflict.  Often, in Church world, there are conflicts between members of the community.  When these conflicts arise, we are faced with three options.  1- Deal with the difficult stuff and resolve the conflict, thereby allowing each party to continue to proceed together in united movement.  2- Avoid the conflict altogether and let bitterness and frustration rise up while insisting on your own way, insuring that no one will move!  3- Change communities, take your problems to another one.

However, even these solutions do not match the moral of Dr. Suess’ “the Zax.”  The point is not that there is a right answer in conflict…  the point is that your conflicts do not matter to the world around you.  The world will go on.

I’m reminded of my Dad’s famous answer to my brother and I when we were worried about something we needed to get done: “Relax, no one’s going to die on the table.”  If we were worried about a test he would say this…  if we were worried about a friendship we would say this.  If we were worried about a game, he would say this.  You see, dad was a doctor and patients could die on the table for him.  But for most of our conflicts and concerns, “no one’s going to die on the table.”   It’s a way of saying, these things really aren’t that important.  So…  If you’re in a conflict right now…  whether someone has ignored you, gossiped about you, you gossiped about them, their mad at you, you failed a test, you failed an interview, whatever…  just remember, the world is going to keep going…  this isn’t that important and no one’s going to die on the table.


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