Every movie or a book has a genre. A tone that alerts us, even if subconsciously, to what kind of story it may have. Even if it doesn’t there’s always the trailers and the blurb that gives us some clue. A superhero movie will not have a Cinderella, for example. But life has no genre. No rules for the characters, storyline, plot twists and happy (or not) endings it may have. It’s just a huge gaping hole of uncertainties. One day you feel like a bird with a french fry in its beak. The next you feel like a crispy fallen leaf that comes under a foot and is in fragments.
Everyone has felt pain, terror, shame, joy, love, compassion, anger, playfulness and a whole horde of other emotions, some of them as yet undefinable. Everything keeps changing and yet, it’s still tough. One the most difficult things that I have encountered is saying goodbye. Goodbye to a person or place or idea or illusion. Only when we have to say goodbye do we realize how much more we could have done. How much more we could have been. How we would have done this or if only we didn’t do or say that.
It’s as if all the other deceptions that we had and believed, momentarily get wiped away and we confront the real. It never gets easier. To a mother, sending her toddler to the school will never get easier, only she gets more used to it. A million tiny goodbyes in our lives, none prepare us for- and I hate to sound like the last instalment of a series of movies- when it all ends. Or do they?
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” ― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish
I have lost loved ones before, and much as I hate it, I know I’m going to again. It would hurt. Dante’s descriptions of hell may well fall short. In moments of madness or maybe sanity, you feel like calling the people you love and tearfully begging them to just live until they’re a hundred and eighty (at least). As if after listening to this request of yours they can. As if anyone can control it. As if you can do that for yourself, leave alone for anyone else. As if the world rotates only to please you. It doesn’t. Who knows if there’s really a plan or if our planets are just plain fond of ballet pirouettes?
It is these saturnine (!) thoughts that lead one to sometimes question the existence or the point of presence of everything- from God to wifi. If everything will become nothing- then why meals, and morning walks (I’ve heard of them) and TVs and anything really? And what is karma? Should we really believe the what-goes-around-comes-around-theory? If there’s a God then why did s/he do things that are just plain mean? Why? Why does s/he take people or things away from us?
Needless to say I was stewing in a broth full of existential angst. For a while it’s difficult to believe in anyone or anything. You drift. You slump. You swing your feet. You listen to sad songs and look out of the window exactly like in the music videos. It’s not pretty. Then one day you’re just sitting staring into your bowl of cornflakes and you get it. The point is not that people go away or that we leave. The point was probably that they were there at all. That we were here.
You realize what you’ve been asking for the whereabouts of air. Not knowing that it just is. I realized how almost every moment we want to become. Not knowing that we are. We are and that is way more important. More realistically, we already are becoming. But there are no short-cuts- no recipes and no formula. We just have to go through it all. Even if the void terrifies us. Even if- on the way, we find ourselves broken and hurt. As a great philosopher said – wound is the place light enters you.