This is for me, about the things I know, but it is also for my friends...
I have reached the conclusion that time is a human construct, not a divine construct. For God, for infinite Divine Power, time is fluid. I think it is our ability to hold on to time that makes us "God-like", "in His image"... we can conjure up memories and get lost in them with just the strength of our will. We can choose to live in the past or the future, not just the present... we are able to be fluid through time.
So much of my study/ personal growth lately has focused on living "in the moment", in the "right now!"... finding ways to connect to what exists before me, with me, in me. And I am getting better at it. I am really able to acknowledge love and beauty in better ways than I have ever been able to in my life. I want to keep working in that direction.
At the same time, I have often felt like I can see "ribbons" of time attached to people, places and events. It is as if there is a tapestry being woven and the threads (ribbons) weave a complex and beautiful whole that is both eternal and momentary. There are people who I meet, know and can "see" them through time. It is as if I have known them when they were young, in their prime, and when they are wise in experience. There are other people who I do not "see through time" but they keep showing up "on my timeline", their ribbon, though I cannot follow it, continues to interweave with mine. I am deeply appreciative of both, desperately curious to see how they come together, and honestly in love with all of them.
The past couple days I have been really reflective of where I specifically am in time. I know I am approaching a transition, though I am unclear on the particulars, so I am assessing my position.
Several of my friends also seem to be assessing. One friend younger than I am posted a question on the importance of his college degree this week - and lots of his age peers supported his concern. One friend younger than I had a long heartfelt conversation about personal direction and leaving home. Many of my staff are starting or finishing college, and there is lots of tension about direction and making good decisions. There is also lots of pressure to be sure there are no "lost opportunities". I remember that pressure. As I looked to my experience to help inform theirs, I realized that mine was shaped with an unexpected and unusual physical disability (surgery on both knees). The lesson was to hold on to what I needed and work through the challenges. I could not have predicted how that played out, but I was driven to achieve the pieces I needed... the associations and events that still link to where I am today (scouts, foreign travel, my university, needle arts, family, the mountains...)
As I have looked to the friends and family I have re-encountered, I know that I could not have predicted where they are either. In the last year, several have divorced, but i discovered others have never married (though I would have expected them to). Girls (now women) I was in scouting with for years, who I knew in deeply emotionally intimate ways, who I grew up with, are not in places/ situations that I could have possibly predicted! While a base essence of them is constant, still there, the specific manifestation of that is unexpected. The deeply religious girly girl became a member of the National Guard, and is now a foster parent. The life of the party (she led every late night sing-along) is a special education teacher with 2 beautiful children. A boy (now man) I went to elementary school with is a well traveled missionary, who has rebuilt the organ in the Crystal Catherdral. From my circle of "high school posse" we are all over the nation, living with parents, struggling with special needs children, finding new ways to connect with our spirituality, advocating in our communities, and just trying to get by... Of my cousins - we are all over the country, still getting our educations, touching lives in academic and military endeavors, dealing with cancer and tragic accidents, trying to equip our kids with the best tools we can, and just trying to get by...
As I look at me, I am overwhelmed with realities that I never expected. I grew up driving L.A. freeways, I never expected to spend my life exploring scenic by ways. I loved camping and scouting, but overlooked its power because it was so constant in my life. Only after the dysfunction of my body "took" those activities away from me did I understand - and I make a living doing them despite the limitations of my body. I expected to be a mom, but never ever a teacher. And I certainly could not have possibly imagined being an autism parent, and the amazing journey it has led me on. I knew I would seek knowledge all my days, but never imagined that I would learn to honor experience over "book learning"/ academic rigor. If someone had told me 20 years ago that I would be living in these blessed mountains, homeschooling, or working at a camp, I would NEVER have believed them. I would never have believed someone if they had told me I would miss authentic Mexican food. It would been beyond my realm of reality. I ask you to take a good look at you, but do not believe for one second that it in any way represents all that you will be!
More importantly, I would not have believed that I could be in such a rich emotional place - that I would have a job where my co workers are my friends, that I could be so in love with my coworkers that they are my family. I would never have believed that I could be surrounded by people who accept me, people who are not just tolerating me, but loving me, growing me... I COULD NEVER HAVE BELIEVED THAT I WOULD BE EXACTLY WHERE I NEED TO BE! Because, "back then", I was so emotionally invested in the struggle, in the transition, that I couldn't imagine the destination. I was too busy looking for answers that I didn't see people.
And this is what I want to say to all my friends, to everyone who is transitioning RIGHT NOW: It's OK. You will not be able to imagine the destination. You will not be able to see where this is heading. Unexpected diversions will come up, and they are not "missed opportunities"! They are the windows and doors that will lead you to exactly where you are supposed to be, exactly where you need to be. DO NOT BE AFRAID! There will be angels and friends and loving people there, both along the path and at the destination. You are right - you will be sad sometimes, and frustrated sometimes, confused many times, and doors will close. But your confusion will pass, even if you choose to stand in front of that closed door, some one or some thing will come along and drag you through a different one (the secret is to listen to invitations so they don't have to drag you). The essence of you, the Gift that God made you to be, the Good that you are created to do will fight its way out, some paths will become clear, patience will be rewarded... and all those other idioms of happiness really do happen!
If you are not sure where to go next: LOVE PEOPLE, it is the most important thing you can do! In acts of love paths become crystal clear - you will know exactly what you have to hold on to and let go of.
I will say that the confusion does not ever TOTALLY disappear. My mother told me when I was 18 that I would never feel older than I did right then. Her exact words were that I would gain knowledge, information, but I would never feel more prepared to make decisions than I did right then. A good friend repeated that sentiment to me this week - saying he felt like he was still making the decisions of a 17 year old even though he was in his 20's. I have to say, I remember feeling that way right through my 20's... but I also have to say that some things did become clear, some decisions were easy, with no clouds of doubt. There were times I looked at a person, a place, an event and knew immediately what I needed to do. Many of them were not even conscious decisions - I just acted... because my heart knew it needed to, my soul just led me, I just "went there". Follow THAT.
And while I feel like (and hope) that I have gained wisdom, there are still choices that I struggle with, decisions I am afraid to make because I fear the long term ramifications, still pieces of me that I feel like I should know better. I still get frustrated with waiting for things to play out, and doors to open, I still find regrets on how I could have touched a life better, or beat myself up for not doing a better job. I try now to look for a lesson, not just be sad...
And as I wrote this, it became clear my soul is "going there" again. These words are for me too - to remind me to let the destination go, because I can't see the destination anyhow. I have been living in a fearful transition for 2 months now, but I also have some things I know I need to do, some places I know I need to go. I have people I KNOW I LOVE, and it is time to look at what is clear instead of trying to peer through the obscure mists.
The doors that open are the ones you are supposed to walk through. You exist exactly where you need to, when you need to. Love, Good, angels, surround you right now! Go kiss 'em! Live Love as an active verb!