How odd are we? We are walking contradictions in terms. We are soft, easily wounded and capable of the kind of fortitude which can handle the most heart-rending difficulties. We pout (I know I do) when a friend disappoints or disappears. I whine about how hurt I am and how much I don’t’ understand it. But if called upon to be strong for someone I care about, to be present with them through their pain, be a source of compassion and understanding, help them process their feelings, or just be a shoulder to cry on – I can do that.
I can be disconnected and depressed, and feel like life is not worth the paper it’s printed on and, in the next hour, be fully present with a patient and direct my entire focus onto his or her needs.
I can be really ready to check out of this life (no plan – don’t worry), feeling like it’s just treading water and devoid of meaning. If there is an intervening interaction which is loving or nourishing, my entire perspective can shift. All of a sudden, life is good. I’m not alone and I have hope.
Am I more volatile than most? Perhaps. But I think I am in close to the real deal of life in its changeable vicissitudes. Lack of awareness can be bliss, but I am not so blessed. Which is not to say I don’t add something to the mix and the madness.
But isn’t it true? Isn’t life, reality, and all that jazz, really a mixed bag. We have less control than we might like about what is next popping out of the bag: Love – hate? Success – failure? Adventure – boredom? Understanding – ridicule? The satisfaction of really being known and gotten – the crashing disappointment of being unable to show up on the radar of another?
Sure, we can play it safe: avoid human contact or never leave that first safe nest – wherever it is. But it’s the hope that we can have more that makes us feel happy, connected and joyous that fuels our efforts. It’s out there, not always where we think it is, but the world is full of what we need. To find it, we must tighten our stomachs and we willing to have disappointments and failures.