One of the greatest mistakes I ever made was believing that there would be a point in life where everything was okay and nothing was wrong. That moment really doesn’t exist. There will always be something that throws us off kilter and hits us when we least expect it. There will always be this tricky little thing called life.
As I’ve said in previous entries, I was always waiting for the moment of perfect happiness that would never arrive. I thought “I’ll be happy once we (fill in the blank), or once (fill in the blank) happens.” Happiness was something that was always on the horizon, but it never seemed to get any closer no matter how many mile markers I passed. Happiness was illusive. Life was ever-present. I was never satisfied. I was waiting for the more that never came. Even if more had come, it wouldn’t have been enough. Nothing was ever enough.
John Lennon, one of my all time musical and philosophical heroes, famously wrote in the song “Beautiful Boy” that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I have always loved that song and the special poignancy of his having written it for his son Sean not too long before his far too soon demise in 1980. I have sung that song to my own son, my own “beautiful boy”, but I have only come to fully understand that particular lyric in the last 5 years.
Life is, as the cliche would have it, a journey and not a destination. It is a marathon and not a sprint. It is what happens everyday, the little things we take for granted. It’s the 6:00 am dog walking, the 6:30 breakfast making, and the getting kids out of the house for school daily grind. It’s the commute to work that I hate, the students whose lessons drag on and on because they aren’t prepared, or the students whose lessons fly by because they are hungry for what I have to give them. Life is the stress of the unknown in my work, in my finances, in my son and daughter’s future, in my husband’s far too often travel schedule. Life is not a highlight reel. Life is real.
The revolution hasn’t been televised. The revolution is live and happening within us all right now.
Sometimes I don’t like what life has to offer. I don’t enjoy paying bills — but I’ve learned to be grateful that I have the money to pay them (when I do, indeed, have the money…). Sometimes I don’t like the weather during my commute, or the driving abilities of the folks around me on the highway. I am, however, happy to have a job to commute to and a car to get me there. I am learning, slowly but surely, to appreciate my life more and more, and to be grateful for the smallest things. I am trying not to miss anything, not to wish I were somewhere else doing something else at a different time. I am living in the moment as much as I can, and I’ve discovered something really important about living in the moment — it’s fucking hard to do. Sometimes it just sucks because the moment you’re in may contain pain, anguish, fear, anger, frustration… all the things we don’t want to feel.
I have learned the value of feeling the feelings and not trying to escape them. I’ve come to understand that the pain I feel today helps me to enjoy the happiness and contentment I have in my future. Mind you, I don’t like pain. I am not masochist, not by a long shot. However, I have learned that a life well lived is a life lived honestly, and pain and other negative emotions are part of that raw honesty that so many of us are afraid to look at. If we run from those emotions, we run the risk of missing significant portions of our life. We risk missing the richness and fullness of what life is.
Various situations in my life right now are causing me pain, frustration, and fear. I am angry sometimes. This morning, I was angry with God and I told Him so. I want closure. I want a resolution. I want what I want and I want it NOW. I am impatient and I don’t want things on His time. I want to be in control, because He’s taking too long. If you can’t drive any faster, Lord, then let me drive!
Sure. That’s a great idea. How many times have I driven my own life right into a ditch that I couldn’t get out of? Yeah, I can’t count that high either. My being in control is NOT the answer. My impatience is NOT the answer. There is only one answer, and I’m not always happy about it but I know it’s true.
Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. It is my best and only options. I change what I can and I leave the rest to the Big Guy, the whole time asking Him for the wisdom to tell the difference between what to change and what to accept. All I can see is what’s right here in front of me. He’s got the big picture view. I need to let Him drive on this since He can see and I can’t. At least, that makes sense to me…
So, I’m here. Life is uncertain. Life is hard. Life is beautiful. Life is what happens to you. Period. Life is what happens to us all. Sometimes life is sweet and sometimes it’s a heavy load to carry. The trick is learning to lay your burden down as often as you can and enjoy the living.
I don’t know how much longer I have. None of us do. Let’s live like it’s our last day and savor every moment. I think it’s worth it, and that’s my plan. I hope it’s your plan too.