Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Non-linear living

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." 
-Henry David Thoreau

A little over a week ago, I was walking towards a car, tripped over a step, fell down, and managed to do some damage to my ankle. Nothing major- some torn ligaments, a few unhappy bruises, and just enough pain to start a small Advil addiction that I cannot wait to withdraw from. The slight injury has not kept me out of work for as much as an hour, and aside from a few extra hours of hanging around the house than normal, hasn't stopped me much at all.

But I'm a writer, so of course, it's got me thinking. 

I didn't expect to fall and hurt myself on a random Saturday. The falling isn't such a big shock- I'm not the most balanced person, and I'm a little scattered, which is sometimes conducive to finding myself sitting on my butt in the subway, or on the sidewalk, or in a particularly speedy elevator. And I've been falling for the better part of my 24 years, so I'm usually a bit more graceful and flexible. I usually get right back up again. 

But this time I did some damage. And I realized that in a second, everything can change. 

It's a bit dramatic- I mean, really, I changed very little. I got myself a good excuse to spend some time laying around doing nothing- doctor's orders of course. The doctor also mentioned that if I had hi-tops, they might help to be a little supportive, so I took this as a prescription that I could fill with some new converse sneakers (blue with pink interior, thank you very much). But maybe it's all the extra time I have to reflect. Or maybe it's the haze of modern medication (which I using on a sparing basis). But whatever it is, it reminded me nothing is certain. 

Lately I've been wondering about why we settle down. We work in time and space, in money and stability. We aspire for homes and jobs and kids and all the things that society tells us is important, and while they are good (and somewhat necessary for the survival of man kind), sometimes they aren't realistic. At least, not at all times in life, and not in this systematic fashion that we design- God does not have to work in lines. He works in interests- what is best for us at any given moment. And it is not always what society subscribes to as fundamentally important. 

Because life is unpredictable. What we think of as certain, as foreseeable, as always true, is nothing more than a moment in time. It's a peak of the sunset, a particularly wonderful stanza of a symphony, a good sale on something that you've always wanted. If you don't grab it, you'll miss it. And there's no promise it will come around again, or it will ever be this good. We consider the inverse a lot more clearly, always telling ourselves that a dark moment will end, that things will get better, that we will return to some sort of normal.

Nothing, I'm sure, you haven't heard before. But here's the kicker for me. These moments of beauty- they aren't linear either. We don't have good moments, then bad moments, then good ones again. Everything happens together. And we get so caught up in one or the other, that we then lose sight of it's partner. We feel our lives are so dark, that we don't notice all the wonderful and beautiful things happening at the same time. And in the midst of the really good, we are not mindful of the bad, not watching to see what's happening, not looking out for the step that is standing right before us. The one that is going to trip us, leave us flat on our face, with twisted ligaments and a lot of pain, on a random Saturday while walking to the car. 

And now, my friends, you've gotten a bit of my mental journey. 

Dear readers, I hope that the good in life is always bigger than the bad, but that you are mindful of what is going on at all times. I hope that you can always seen the sunset peaks, hear the music, shop the sales. And I hope you never hurt your ankle, because it can be quite obnoxious after a while to be stuck in bed, and if you're anything like me, you'll get tired of it and end up overdoing it before the week is even over. 

But mostly, I hope you're crazy enough to over think and over appreciate whatever God has in store for you at all times. Because one door opening doesn't mean that another is closed forever- it just means it's closed for now. And life doesn't always happen the way we want, because it doesn't work the way we think it should. We don't get to plan it. It goes on despite our feelings. 

And if we enjoy every moment of it, we never miss out on it. And then we never feel bad about the new changes- they become adventures, new stories, each with a full story behind them. And to a writer, that is what we call the good life.

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