You probably wouldn’t believe me when I say that I come here every day to write, but it’s true. Behind this little wall is an electronic filing cabinet of bits and pieces of writing that I haven’t managed to complete. Some are paragraphs long, others are a sentence or two. I have so much to say and yet I lack the words to say it. So, instead, I fill up the back room with pieces of the puzzle and hope that maybe one day I’ll figure out how they all fit together.
I still struggle with how to participate meaningfully here. I have the desire but I also sometimes want to tear it down and start fresh again. I don’t want to be haunted by a past that I feel, in some ways, so disconnected from. My life is so different now and there is this part of me what wishes to cut it off and leave it behind. This is also a reflection of life in this moment…of making forward progress that sometimes feels hampered by bits and pieces that still cling, dragging behind me because I haven’t let it go. It’s the saving of something “just in case.” Just in case it can be mended, just in case it can be renewed. But more and more it looks like I’m carrying a pile of useless garbage that I feel is more a burden than anything else.
I remember in the deeper struggles of the last few years, having read in a book by Pema Chodron that in order to move on one must embrace a sense of hopelessness, to accept the idea that life is constantly pulling out the rug from beneath our feet and though I still struggle to catch myself the many times that inevitably happens, I at least remember that nothing is so certain as change. And, as much as I feel able to embrace life’s constant upheavals, I am still sometimes toppled over by them and find that I need to struggle to right myself. I have constantly asked why life has to be so hard, and wondered often about when things get easier, but I’m starting to consider the fact that it doesn’t. Life is a series of difficulties made bearable by the sweetness in between. There will always be struggles. Now I suppose the lesson is in how I prepare myself for those, how I manage to live in healthier ways than I have allowed myself. How I take this new-found ability to love myself and leave that behind which is not supportive and nurturing.
As we sat around a campfire one summer weekend near a lake in southern Oregon, I realized what a full life I have now and how grateful I am for all the changes that have come these past several years. My life is bigger and more beautiful than it has ever been and I am far more capable of knowing how to enjoy it. Even as some challenges linger in the distance, I find that they can’t entirely douse the joy I have in this life I’ve built for myself and the life that Valerie and I have started to build together. Maybe it’s coming out of all that chaos a stronger person, maybe it’s age, maybe it’s having an equal partner at my side – but I no longer feel this struggle to maintain and control my life in the same way I once did. I trust more, I depend on others more, I feel freer and better able to look at the future and not feel suffocated by the responsibility to keep things afloat. I enjoy life more than I fight it…and it feels like the sweetness in between the inevitable struggles are longer and more beautiful than they have ever been.