Every day when I wake up, I hope for a day filled with light. And every day I go to sleep looking back on a day that was really a mixed bag. My days are filled with Everything—one minute I’m sitting at work completely annoyed by a project that’s becoming tedious and frustrating, the next minute I’m riding my bike home and right there trotting down the path is a coyote. Thirty minutes later, the coyote just a picture in my mind, I’m at home beginning to think about what I’ll have for dinner.
This is real life. It’s nothing like the movies in my head or the movies in the theater. Sometimes it’s boring, crazy, sad, frustrating, awesome, heart-warming, painful. Sometimes I cry, laugh, scream, or sit quietly taking it all in. It’s a jumble of everything, and you never know what’s coming next. Maybe you have a general idea which direction you’re heading, but do you really know what your life will be like next year, next month, or even next week?
I find this hard to accept sometimes—I want to nail things down. I want to pin my future to a board like a moth so I can see what it looks like still, instead of always fluttering out there ahead of me, barely visible in its constant motion. I want every day to be full of light and ease and time well spent—days I can look back on and say, “yes, I really lived the life I meant to live.”
But then the wild beast of reality saunters in and dashes my plans for perfect lightness. It challenges me, pushes my buttons, and in general asks me to wake up from my fantasies of a perfect life and live what’s really happening, live in the raw truth. And the truth is: life is not any one thing—it is everything. It is messy. It is wild. It is all over the place. Some moments are easy, some are really hard. Sometimes you feel like the air, other times you feel like darkness.
In moments of understanding, I can see the richness of this. I can see how the darkness creates deep warmth in me when I look at it with kindness. And that life is just one big rollicking adventure when I let it be. But much of the time I’m just tangled up in the whole mess trying to understand which way is up and which way is down.
And maybe that’s OK. Maybe it’s just the process of life to keep getting lost and found, again and again. Maybe this is the only way to understand that we can never really grasp life. We are a part of life, we are riding the waves of life. Life is sailing through us for the one little flicker of our one little life, but it’s so much bigger and wilder than us. So, of course it’s messy and unmanageable, and we can’t control it. Trying to control life is like trying to control the wind. You just can’t do it.
There is peace in this fact when you can feel it deeply. If you can’t control life, then you don’t have to even try. You can just sit back and enjoy the ride. However hard it may sound to let go of trying, I’m beginning to find that it may be harder to live your whole life trying to get control of something that’s uncontrollable. So, everyday I try and remember to pry my fingers off the steering wheel and see what happens. Sometimes my life opens up wide in front of me. Other times, I spend most of the day slowly lifting each finger, and when I’m finally hands-free, I clutch the wheel again and start the process over. This is reality. This is life. This is the big teacher. Lost and found, again and again.