And Now

And Now

What will I do?  It seems that a page has turned and the path, while not visible for very far, seems one that is of the sort that I can trod.  This path of the new day, the journey that is not known but is in the known expectation.  I am comfortable with this level of not knowing. It is an adventure that is absent the fear and terror that was the last section I had traveled.

Life comes at you, and at times quickly.  It seldom has those signs you would find on a ski slope, the Double Diamond or the Moguls, so you would at least know that you could end up a crumpled mess at the bottom when you started over the edge.  Most of life is missing those types of signs. Gravity is real.  Sometimes you will get a tingle in your skin, if you are paying attention, that something is up… but the rest of life comes without labels and warnings.  

Yesterday a 14-year-old girl was walking home from school and was hit by another 14-year-old that was driving with a school permit.  While she is still in the hospital, it is not simply the girl that has had her life changed.  The sudden and large impact on the parents, friends, and others in the town that know them are all changed. Their schedules, activities, calls… The driver that was not paying attention and the shift in his path forward is the same; changed. Consequences are just as real. Forever seems a long time, but how do you “not remember”. They were in the same class.

I had to get gas the other day and on the other side of the pump was a car with a license plate that read, “65 Roses”.  I said to the lady, ”There has to be a story with a plate like that.”  She laughed a short chuckle and said that her son has Cystic-fibrosis but his friends couldn’t pronounce that, so they called it “65 roses”… and just that fast we went from having never met to a story of a dark part of the long journey.  She was fine and her son is doing well on his medications, but I had only touched the surface of a journey that touched many of her friends and family as well. How do you adequately thank these people for their support?

There comes a time, after the crisis or the diagnosis, that you breathe differently.  That you slow down again, and then you think, “and now?”  You are aware that your world has been transformed, not changed but actually transformed, and you are confronted with learning to walk again, but without the leg.  To reach for the dish in the cupboard but with a grip that is not what it was.  To speak, but only with the speech of the one that the stroke has turned into only mumbles and you can’t even write a note, as your hand is also not what it once was.  And Now…

These and many countless events, befall even the most prepared.  “And Now”, the lost job and changed circumstances that you are confronted with.  The tragic deaths of people that were “too young to die” and the shift that comes with that.  There are so many versions and yet they are all the same… altering.  Forever changing what was expected to happen.  The retirement, the future, the anticipated.  “She was only 60, and she was gone…and I wasn’t there”, came the trembling voice of the lonesome one that had the shift in his future, that was not anticipated.  “And Now”, friends came and wept with him.

And now?  The next step is needed and will be taken. Tomorrow waits for no one.  It can be the stuff of legend or the ignominy of a small and obscure beginning, with committed people that want to aid and support your growth.  You will never be able to repay them for their gifts, short of actual appreciation and a thank you filled with graceful acceptance.

And now… it is your everyday.  All day.  Each minute that is a struggle.  A struggle against the anger and the injustice of it. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way!” said by everyone that has a moment of clear conscience, at least once.  We cry out against the universe that has conspired against us, the evil and the dark forces that are at work.  Or simply at our impotence to do more or better…. And now?  Will I choose joy?  Acceptance?  Life?  Well, perhaps, but only after we lash out in anger and pain, usually at someone that would least deserves it. One that accepts it better than we deserve.  It is always this way, because they are the safe one.  The one that will not abandon you.  Not at this moment.  Not  Now…

  It is one thing to never play tennis again, but if it was your occupation, your means of wealth and identity, it is quite different.  It is the lost game for the retired member of the club, or the lost path of life for the Pro, and they are not the same at all.  Your grief is not theirs.  To have lost your only child when they were young is to also have lost your hope of grandchildren.  It is not the same as your “reasonable expectation”, and yet it is real. Very real.

And now?  It continues every day.  Not all days are bad.  Not all moments are without hope.  Some, I will simply chose to be good, and to take the time to be content.  Not happy, per-say, but content in my soul.  It is the only thing I can control. It is the act of courage, choosing to be content.  It is also contagious.  It is also a gift that I give to others.  And now, it is that which I give to you.  The place of new beginnings and new mornings.  And, after the Mourning, comes the joy of the day.  It requires the shift, however.  The shift into the new place that is your new reality.  That is not where your path was expected to take you, but it is here that you are.

A friend of mine told the story of his parents leaving Italy in the late 1930’s.  They went to the port to get on a ship and bought a ticket for “America”.  After several days journey they arrived in Buenos Aries, Argentina.  Incredulous, they enquired about it and were told that they didn’t say “North” America.  With only their few possessions in hand, they started their life by selling fruit on the street.  “And now”, was very real.  And now, was immediate.  And now came their next day and their next action.  It is the same for all of us, just in more specific ways for you and your path. For me, and my path.

Take your new life back.  Take the reins of the life you have remaining and guide it into the direction that you can see before you.  It may be shrouded in fog and mist. It may be dark and stormy.  It is all you have.  It is your And Now moment.  And Now, I will live.  And Now, I will be braver than my fear.  And now… I will lift others, face the wind, be the hope others draw strength from and point to the fount of that which refreshes from within, and which brings me strength.  Regardless of the day or circumstance, I will say “And Now…I know what I will do.”


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