As the saying goes: when one door closes, another door opens. Lately it does seem that way, that when a door slams closed in my face or another clicks softly closed behind me, a hidden door will suddenly spring open a moment later. When an era ends, a new era always begins. I’ve been noticing this cyclical nature of life more and more lately, the endings coinciding with the beginnings, the sadness and the joy that seems to exist on the very same plane.
Last week I didn’t write because I was at a celebration of life. One of my dear friends experienced a sudden loss in the family, a loss that rocked our group of friends deeply. We have experienced a lot of loss lately it seems. We gathered last Sunday to share our stories and honor the beloved person we all lost in our own way. It was a sad but sweet day, a day of laughter and tears, of remembrance and of looking to the future.
Then yesterday I attended a close friend’s baby shower. A celebration of life as well, only of a different variety. This celebration was a welcoming of an unknown but already loved little being. We gathered to share our favorite children’s books and honor the person whom we are all excited to meet. Last weekend was about loss, this weekend was about an addition to the family. Needless to say, the emotions have been quite varied from day to day.
How can we be so disheartened one moment and then so excited the next? How can life be so cruel and yet so kind? I suppose that’s just the nature of the beast. The sooner we (I) can accept that, the better off we will be. Life doesn’t always make sense. It rarely does. But just as it can seem cold, it can also be warm and inviting. What we don’t know, what we can never know, is how it will be from one day to the next.
How can we live with such uncertainty? The not knowing if we will lose someone so suddenly? I suppose because we must, because there is no other option. Even if we lock ourselves in our homes and turn our backs on the world, the world will keep on spinning. Even if we fiercely guard the ones we love, what we hold dear, we can still lose it all in the blink of an eye. There are no guarantees.
But you know what is guaranteed? That we will suffer heartbreak and we will also experience wild joy. We will lose it all only to start over and rebuild. Does this hurt? Like hell. But it happens and then, just when we’ve given up hope, a secret door, one that was invisible to our eyes only moments before, sighs open. Or blows wide open, compelling us to act and act quickly. We don’t know when this will happen, we can’t plan for it, we can’t hide from it.
I believe that we cannot dictate our future, that we cannot control the outcome. This does not mean that we shouldn’t try to orchestrate the life we wish to see, not by any means. But it does mean that when things don’t make sense, when we’re mired down, the only way out is to feel the fear and surrender to the experience. Surrendering not in the sense of giving up, but of relinquishing some of our white-knuckled attempt to control everything. The harder we bear down, the tighter we clutch and grasp, the more likely we are to miss the secret doors whispering open. The more we try to make sense of what is right in front of us, the less we are able to see the light off in the distance.
I’ve been sad and blindsided by my friend’s loss, by what life has thrown my way. But I have also been excited for the impending birth of a new person, created by two lovely people I am happy to know. I’ve been stressed and overwhelmed with tackling all of the aspects of my new life, but I’ve also been exhilarated and renewed. I just have to ride the wave, I guess. I have to trust that it will all turn out how it is supposed to. Life very rarely makes sense, but man, is it a beautiful, wild ride nonetheless.
I wish you a wild, free life.