So we’re all on a path, right? A long, sometimes wonderful, sometimes very rough, usually some level of uncomfortable, journey of growth and transformation. Sometimes we start on our own search for discovery, realization, and revelation. Sometimes we need to be kicked.
This is completely natural. This process comes standard from the factory, it’s built into everything. From Joseph Campbell’s literary Heroes Journey to Star Wars, the 4 part invitation of the Gospels (what Alexander Shaia calls the Quadratos) to Google.
But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s easy.
If you take a long view, my life has followed a gradual line up and to the right, walking into becoming more and more myself. Of course there have been too many steps backwards (actually, who decides how many is too many – maybe it was just the right amount of stops and starts, the perfect number of falls and skinned knees) and that gradual line has been marked with spikes up as well as down, where I was thrust into periods of great ‘stretching.’ In the last week, it would appear that I happen to be in one of those right about now.
How it feels is like my clothes don’t fit anymore. They’re tight, restrictive, and leave me tugging at the seams, akwardly trying to adjust the garments or myself, in a doomed effort to stay in yesterday’s size. Like I said, it’s not the first or the last time.
How it feels is that I’m tired, which is to say, restless and uninspired, bored. And my life, my family, my community – they are anything but boring. It’s a mostly spiritual lethargy, and historically means I’m about to be kicked. So I do what I do, I sit down, metaphorically speaking. I sit down like a petulant toddler in the middle of this narrow path I’m on.
A very good friend said to me this morning, he had something to say but I wasn’t going to like it. I already knew what he would say, but sometimes you just need to hear it out loud. He said, “move.” I don’t think he meant pack my stuff and leave Pennsylvania, unless he did, but I’m pretty sure it was less specific. Move. Listen & do something new and fresh. Create. Climb up on the roof of my soul and jump off.
He’s right. I’m not sure when we talk about the people that impact us, we say, “he/she watched a lot of tv (or took tons of naps or had so many subscriptions to porn sites or was drunk every night or whatever, you get the point) and that was SOOOO awesome.” Those people took chances and followed the divine call on their lives (and nobody’s call is sitcom reruns, porn or alcohol), whatever it was. That call looks different for all of us, but we all have one.
I don’t think mine is to become a social media influencer or a boxer. The only thing I ever wanted to invent is weight sensitive windshield wipers that worked when they sensed a certain amount of water, but it turns out that already exists. I can’t sing or cook or complete higher math equations. I probably am here to love others up close in relationships (as opposed to loving others a million at a time, like…well, like somebody. I wonder if there is any way to love others other than face to face, one at a time. Anyway.) and I can’t do that from the ground with these clothes on.
It’s weird that the clothes that fit so well last season are so constricting now, and this space on the path used to seem so far away. We think when we get somewhere, we’ll have ‘made it,’ but as we soon discover, we’ve simply made it here, then there’s a new challenge, a new beginning, a new mountain to climb. We are thankful to have gotten here, content but not complacent. We have to choose to keep growing, keep stepping into the cycle. Otherwise, we stay where we are, lose our flavor and our light dims.
So here I go. I don’t know what this means, for me or for anyone else, but I do know I am, we are, in great hands. It reminds me of the last page of Chuck Palahniuk’s book Choke, where the characters muse, “I wonder what we’ll build.” It’s the phrase of anticipation and hope, as if everything will be different but that new everything will be wonderful.