Oh, life! How it plays with us, pushing us here and there like a well-chewed catnip toy. That is my experience of present as I start to rebuild my life from a place of nothing. And what I know is
that my fear of this looming, uncertain future is the fear we all share.
Uncertainty sucks, in a nutshell. But, actually … does it?
What I’m feeling right now as I contemplate leaving my former home, my ex-husband, and my son … the very place I defiantly drove a moving truck away from two years ago … is true terror.
The last time I left I cried and felt vulnerable for sure. But now I am leaving as a humble, very small woman. For a new unfolding is happening in the wake of the sudden death of our 22-year-old daughter Teal.
What’s happening is that I am waking up.
Life’s unpredictability has been visited upon me in extraordinary measure. Because children are sacred. We rely on them as one of ‘certain things’ in an uncertain world. More importantly, our job as parent becomes our rudder in life.
And now that rudder has been disturbed, and God is taking me on his own course to places I cannot imagine. Yet this is all part of a divine plan, isn’t it? For how else can I hold it?
When Teal suffered the cardiac arrest and the brain damage that killed her six days later, I was drifting. My love relationship was over, and with it went the home we were living in. I had also let go of a successful business to create a new body of work for women at midlife. And that work is emerging at it’s own perfect pace.
And so here we are … moving towards some bright light in the future that is not here yet. A light that my mind and its propensity to plan, control, organize and manage can barely tolerate. Because that light is so bright it is frightening.
What if I am consumed by it? What if it is too bright to touch – and my path to it just keeps getting longer and longer?
What if my doubting mind plays with the plan just enough that I cannot reach this place of exaltation, of consecration, of peace?
What if I die with my potential still unlived? My ultimate gift ungiven?
What if birthing these two amazing children is the only gift I will really ever give? Does that count enough? Will God be disappointed if somehow I can’t fulfill the rest of my promise in this life?
What am I to do, exactly, next and next and next? Where is the sweet rhythm of the predictable in my days? Will my life ever be knowable and certain again?
Or is everything ripped raw of expectation and planning – so I, too, must be opened up.
We are nothing but heart in the end, my friends. We are just love, poured into a complex package of bargaining, wielding, measuring and managing. And our ability to return to that sweet uncomplicated love is what guides our growth.
And so uncertainty must be our teacher and our master. Its guidance is complete in its void. For when we just go with that murky flow, we really ‘are’ nothing. And so then, the love just naturally comes pouring in.
It has to, just as water must flow through a sluice. There is no stopping this natural movement towards love and happiness; it is what God has mandated for all of us. All we have to do is honor it.
No worry. No regret. No mucking around in the past. No writhing in self-pity, guilt or a thousand complicated stories.
Instead, simple clear eye on the future, and hand on the rudder is what is indicated here. And so I am learning to tolerate this new emptiness.
And I am finding a certain beauty in living out of a suitcase, in not knowing exactly where I will live next. What I know is that my writing and speaking is guiding me, like a port in a storm. Each time I surrender to the words that want to come out, I feel sanctified.
Teal’s essence pops in now and then … last night I dreamt about something extremely beautiful – what I can’t even say. But Teal popped in with a hearty, ‘YEAH!’. And I woke up knowing that yes, the path to joy is actually the plan here.
Joy as in deliciousness – like the perfect lemon fluff. Or comfort — like the perfect ray of sunlight streaming into my kitchen. Or the perfect joy of singing, or making love, or running, or writing.
And so uncertainty has led me squarely back to the bright light of joy, and why should I be surprised. It is how we all come into this life, isn’t it?
And how, if we are paying attention, we may return.