I’ve believed it for years and years. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
I believe in the words of the “Desiderata”—created in 1927—and I carry it with me always. I most especially believe in the part that says: “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.”
So it shouldn’t surprise me that I am here once again on the crest of memory of a cold January day five years ago that unfolded, as I know it to be, into the most defining moment of my life thus far.
That was the day I learned what it meant to be alive.
Yet I am here wrestling again with a muddled bag of alphabets and trying most desperately to pull them into some kind of meaningful scrabble; a checkerboard of words of value about what I know to be true about that day—when life changed in an instant.
First of all, I’m compelled to remind anyone who reads this how important it is to practice three golden rules anytime someone needs to share feelings on their grief, loss, and crisis: “Mouth shut, ears open, presence available.”
Really try hard to be the ears and not the mouth, though it isn’t easy. Most of us in crisis aren’t asking for your advice; we just need to be heard. Put away your opinions. Shut up and listen.
Furthermore, and I say this with the upmost humility and respect for the journeys of others, purpose is sacred to each of us—this I know, for sure—and I respect yours, whatever it may be.
I’m still ever edging outwards in healing from my own storm damage.
Mark Nepo wrote: “The current of life requires us to stand up, again and again, and we are not defeated when we are worn down, just exposed anew at a deeper level.” This I believe.
I am puzzled by many things—some worth piecing together and some, not so much. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I think about.
I think again about that question posed to me some time ago by a friend. “What’s the goal of your life, Beth?”
Much to my surprise, I couldn’t answer it promptly and that bugged me—a lot.
I felt stymied in some internal way; as if the fact that I couldn’t answer the question meant I didn’t know what I wanted or what I was supposed to be doing with my life.
Eventually, it dawned on me that, yes, of course, I know what my goal is. It’s what I live for and in one way or another, I write about it all the time.
It was the primary lesson I learned when I came face-to-face with the suicide of a loved one.
Nepo writes, “That we insist on keeping old wounds alive is our curse.” He’s right. It’s what we focus on that manifests itself.
“When I focus on the rake of experience and how its fingers dug into me, and the many feet that have walked over me, there is no end to the life of my pain. But when I focus on the soil of heart and how it has been turned over, there is no end to the mix of feelings that defy my want to name them.
“Tragedy stays alive by feeling what’s been done to us. Peace comes alive by living with the result.”
What is the goal of my life? My goal is to be happy. I deserve to be happy. We all do.
The happiness balance is tedious, constant work. Sometimes I do it well, sometimes I do appallingly, but I do the work anyway because life is short and thank the Universe, I’m still here.