a wandering woman writes

Monday, July 17, 2006

Curveballs

Bear with me while I blatantly mix metaphors, ok? I figure this is a blog, an electronic notebook I invite you all to peek into, so I'm going to let the two images play together here as they are in my head.....

You just never what life is going to throw you.

Just that. This week I have seen life throw a cherished friend an incredible curve ball, the indescribably painful, never anticipated, life-changing kind. I've watched her courageously reach over to catch it - graceful is the best word I can find - stretched way beyond her usual reach, her face contorted in pain, her body leaping, gracefully. I don't know that I'd be strong enough to catch this ball. I suspect most of us would freeze, stand there, stunned, watching it hit the dirt in front of us. Or catch it bloody, full force, in the face and fall down flat.

And what has hit me is that despite all the bold choices I've made in the last few years - quitting a job, moving to Spain, leaving my job here to go off on my own - despite the life I've more or less designed for myself, today I see more clearly than ever that while I choose, daily, how I happen to the world around me, while I defiantly declare where and how I will live, I can't control what happens to me. Or the people I love. In the end, I only control what I do when the ball comes sailing over to my part of the field.

So back to my Bode quote, and Erin's favorite overused metaphor. When my sailing metaphor (for everything, she chuckles) came up on a friend's blog, someone commented that the image didn't work for him. It seemed to him that since you can never control the wind, you are simply stuck when it blows against you. His (brilliant) analytical mind told him, if you had zero friction and a sail that rotated in all directions, you probably could get somewhere despite the wind, as long as you didn't care where you were going.

Some day I'd love to take that brilliant young man out for a sail.

Because he's nailed my metaphor while trying to dispute it.

Long days on the water taught me, without my even knowing it, that there is always a way to get to where I want to, even if it is almost never in a straight line. And I get there with the wind I have, never despite it. I get there by collaborating with it, I get there by changing my angle to this thing I can't control, by welcoming the wind the day brings me - a pleasant breeze or a 35 knot let's just sit this one out and get a pint blow. I tack my zig-zag anything-but-direct-way to where I want to go.

Some of my tacks in life have been pretty darn long, now that I think about it. But could I have gotten to where I am fiercely battling to travel in a straight line? I don't know.

Anyway, here's where my thoughts get me mixing metaphors. Watching my friend has left me wanting to believe that there isn't any wind I can't handle, as long as I remember that I'll never have zero friction or a 360 degree rotating sail.

As long as I remember to let myself go, just a little, toward the ball flying at me, scrunching up my face just as much as I want to, glove ready for the catch.

Because you just never know what life is going to throw you.

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5 Comments:

  • I loved this for so many reasons ... most of all because it made me think about all kinds of things that are too complicated to write about here.

    But thanks :)

    By Blogger woman wandering, at 8:52 PM  

  • Sometimes you have to take a detour to get where you are really supposed to be.... :D

    By Anonymous Adrift At Sea, at 3:40 AM  

  • I've never been sailing but I guess that when that wind blows you just have to go along with it but if you have the guts to make it work for you it must be a wonderful feeling. And if you succeed it must be great training for whatever life on land is going to throw you.Being able to cope with lifes' problems ( and met them with a smile on your face ) and not let them affect you is an achievement that you seem to have mastered. Believe me its a gift, if thats the right word, that not everyone has and don't worry about catching that ball, you can always pick it up again, wipe clean and if it doesn't suit throw it back.

    By Blogger daniel, at 8:59 AM  

  • Oh, Daniel, I smiled ear to ear at this:
    don't worry about catching that ball, you can always pick it up again, wipe clean and if it doesn't suit throw it back.


    The "gift" you mention - Why does something tell me everybody does have it? You don't think maybe we just learn not to use it somewhere down the line?

    I'm really enjoying your comments; thanks for them. Finished the Cees N Road to Santiago book?

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 7:51 PM  

  • Finished Cees N? The reading yes, its beautiful. The stimulated travelling he's encouraged, no, not yet.

    By Blogger daniel, at 9:54 AM  

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