I often mistakenly view life as a simple linear progression. I have a choice of merely two things and thus, I must choose either A or B. This is where Robert Frost comes to mind and his famous, “Two roads diverged in a yellow road,” line. Sometimes the choice is just not that simple. Sometimes there are multiple options….multiple things that are and good and I simply have to choose one of the “good” options.
Life is a complicated mess of “stuff.” Perhaps it is better thought of as a freeway system with multiple twists, turns, exits, interchanges, and tolls all along the way. Sometimes by making one choice, I am really making the choice to turn and travel in a completely different direction. I am now traveling east instead of north. This is how I feel my life is lived and how I suspect many of yours, as well. To illustrate this point, let me share a real-world example. When I lived in Oklahoma, I got lost a lot…and I mean A LOT! My dad got me a GPS but not until after I had lived there quite a while. After I had been living there a few months, I had to travel to a town that was past Oklahoma City (I was living in Norman at the time). I had not spent any real time looking at a map but just thought that I could figure it out along the way -that’s what all those signs are there for, right? Well, I was supposed to take an exit just outside of the city and that would put me on a different interstate. I needed to be on this particular interstate to get to where I was going. Well, I did not know that because I had not spent my time studying the maps. I ended up where I did not need to be and had to stop and ask for directions. In short, it took me much longer to reach my destination than it should have because of the twists and turns that were required for my journey. I find myself quite frustrated with the detours my life takes and often berate myself because this journey to get where I want to be is taking so much longer than I ever anticipated. I know where I want the end point to be but it is in the getting there that I often forget the journey is an experience to treasure. A leader from my church has been quoted as saying (more than once) that we should be finding joy in the journey. I like things to be simple but that is just not life. The twists, turns, and exits of life are supposed to teach me something. I must keep reminding myself and you must do the same.
In one of my first posts on this site, I made reference to a Theodore Roethke poem, “In a Dark Time.” This is one of my favorite poems and lines from it are often swirling in my mind. Tonight this is the line that is on constant repeat, “A man goes far to find out what he is.” That is the essence of life, yes? We are all on our personal freeways simply trying to reach our destination. Along our way, during our journeys, we are simply trying to find out what we are and who we can truly become.
I will attempt to embrace all the turns, direction shifts, and plot changes my journey will take and not grumble too loudly. I am indeed grateful for the journey and for all the fellow travelers I have the opportunity to meet along the way.
Peace and Love,
The Mad Pianist