Most of my life, I felt that I was a pretty peaceful person. Rather, I thought I was a person who was at peace with most things. I accepted what came to me as it came to me. The good things I accepted with gratitude and hesitation. The distressing times, I met with as much strength and humility as I could muster. In all moments, my sense of humor was my saving grace. But after lots of soul-searching over the last few years, and the last few weeks specifically, I have decided that I did not meet such things with peace exactly. More like a sense of resignation. And sometimes even numbness.
I sought shelter by cutting off portions of myself. I found myself expecting the least out of others, and then congratulating myself when I was right and chalking it up to luck when I was wrong. I took refuge in a shroud of cynicism. Because when the cynic expects the worst, when he predicts the dropping of the other shoe, it must hurt less, no?
Yeah. Not so much.
What I've discovered is that I have a real need for control. For order. For a beginning and an end. And when I have those things, I am calm and patient and positive. It's when those things are beyond my reach, when I feel in the dark, when the answer cannot be found in a book that I feel the worst. When I wash my hands of the situation and pretend not to care. Or I fly to an uncontrollable rage that only makes me feel wrung out. Or I lose hope. I take my hurt and fear, and I wrap them up tight and lock them away in the darkest corner of my heart. And not unlike the boxes of clothes and decorations and junk in my spare bedroom -- the junk that I promise myself, "Next Saturday. Next Saturday, I will sort through it all" -- they sit and rot and fester.
It's been 1,068 Saturdays already.
Tonight I was able to go see my dear friend in the hospital. As with most things, I have little patience, and I have struggled to see past today and all the days before. I have so desperately tried to see the outcome, and I have prayed and bargained and worried about the many days yet to come. Because if I know the ending, maybe the journey will be less frightening. On the drive over, I wondered what words I could say to bring peace to her. As if I could do so.
Of course, the majority of our visit was the same silly, funny conversations we typically have. About our friends and our families. About The Bachelor and about work. And as the conversation wore on, I found myself relaxing a bit. But when she told me about being at the hospital, about how every morning she begins the day with a good breakfast and the sound of her baby's heart beating, I realized she was bringing peace to me.
How does that even work?
On my drive home, while getting completely lost in my own city, I made a promise to myself. I pledged that I will try not to worry what the days and months may bring. I cannot agonize over things out of my control. I can only recognize and rejoice in what happens today. Today is the most important day.
And I took the smile and wisdom of my sweet friend, wrapped it up tightly in my heart, and tossed some of that old rotten junk to the curb.