Sunday, August 30, 2015

Life is a Transition

Life is about transition, or transitions.  From asleep to awake, from horizontal to vertical, from hungry to fulfilled...all transitions, all day long, every day.  Because, guess what?  If those transitions don't happen, you're not alive.  That's literal and figurative, by the way.  Some of those basic biological transitions have to happen in order for our hearts to keep ticking, our lungs to keep filling, or blood to keep pumping.  The figurative ones?They may not be as immediately critical to sustaining life, but they can be just as important in the long run.

It is often the case that things that people say to me get the wheels in my brain turning.  Oh, who are we kidding?  The wheels are always turning.  I'm a charter member of Overthinkers Anonymous, and the alcoholic's glass of scotch is a lot easier to put down than my brain, trust me.  I'm also the self-appointed president of the It's Not Right, Therefore, I Don't Accept It Club. God did NOT grant me any sort of serenity, not one little drop.

The cute little meme gracing this post?  The one I plucked from a friend's Facebook share?  Well, I don't know how I feel about it.  It popped up in my news feed in the middle of me contemplating transitions, and it just seemed apropos, even though I don't really think it's true.  Sometimes the bad things are bullshit that shouldn't have happened to start with.  Sometimes the bad things are decisions that were made FOR us instead of with us, and which put us down on a path we don't want to walk down at all.  Sometimes the path ends without warning--someone throws up a fence, a tree falls, or it just becomes overgrown slowly.  And sometimes the BEST things that ever happen in our lives put us on the path to the worst things to ever happen to's that for optimism?  And just like I don't know how I feel about the statement, how I react to that blocked path changes also.
Shamelessly stolen photo of trees.  

Choice Number One is just to sit down on a rock and let the weeds grow up around me.  It's not an awful thing.  I can sit and look at trees for hours, no matter where I am.  And when the sunlight filters through (my new favorite word, komorebi), that's about as close to God as I get. I'm not going to get anywhere that way, but I also won't get lost or hurt.  It's a safe choice, but also a lonely choice.

Choice Number Two is to grab the nearest machete and start whacking through the shrubbery to make a path that no one has ever walked before.  It's exhilarating!  It's titillating! But it's also exhausting and a little too much like exercise to be pleasant.  Thorns draw blood, there are snakes and creepy-crawlies in the underbrush, and it's not a quick or painless way to get anywhere.

Choice Number Three is to turn around and walk back the other way, back to the starting point.  I know exactly where that path leads and it's already clear and safe.  It doesn't really matter that the starting point is miles and miles away, that I worked hard and suffered through the forging of that path.  It'll be easier on the way back, but that also means that all that work was for nothing.  The scratches and scrapes may be healed, but the scars are still there.

There are other choices.  The wind-up toy choice, the Sheldon-knocking-on-Penny's-door choice, the grin and bear it choice...the list goes on.  The point, which I sort of wandered away from, is that every single one of these things is a transition, a change.  A transition can be a bad thing, but it can also be a very good thing, a permanent one.  Just ask the butterfly.  It snuggled itself inside the cocoon as a slow-moving caterpillar with the idea of emerging as a beautiful, treasured butterfly who could fly anywhere gracefully, over the obstacles in the way, away from harmful things, to land on gentle arms and sweet-smelling flowers.  That's the way it should happen.  And if it does, whether there's a path or not is irrelevant.  The butterfly doesn't change back or decide to be something else.  It's just a butterfly forever, and happy.   And probably way too many mixed metaphors for a Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the word komorebi. It describes beautifully the view in my back yard during a morning sunrise. On those pleasant mornings when it's neither thick with humidity or frigid, I take my coffee out on my balcony and enjoy the komorebi through Huntley Meadows Park. In the spring, it's brilliantly open because there's no leaves filtering the light. In the fall, it's colorful because the blend of autumn leaves bring to life a rainbow komorebi. But, on those rare summer mornings that are fresh, the filtering effect is astounding. The leaves let through just a slight shimmer of light creating a prismatic komorebi. It's brief, but breath taking. Thank you for introducing me to the word.