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.
Labels: me musing