A friend writes to share an ancient Chinese expression, at once considered a curse and a proverb: “May you live in interesting times.”
How appropriate to reflect on, for we do now, don’t we?
Interesting times. Now seems especially interesting, or perhaps, are my eyes just more open as I reach out for support getting through our hard times, and realize there is no one I speak to (or rather, usually write to) that is not experiencing hard times of their own, in one way or another?
Another friend writes, “Everyone has their ‘situation’ to deal with.” And this goes beyond the realm of the difficult economy and job situation. Is no one unaffected by some ‘situation’ or another, be it financial, health, marriage, family, neighbors…? No. She is correct. We all have our ‘situations’ to deal with, don’t we? Perhaps it is these situations, these challenges, these interesting times, which open our eyes, our minds, our hearts, and at the same time, bring us together?
Even in the most idyllic of worlds, ‘situations’ arise, fester if only within our minds, and follow us throughout our day. Even here, in this pastoral mountain world where nature and beauty abound, we are not free from ‘situations.’ I have lived in many places, and never seen so closely the anger and hatred, lies and sadness that haunt this land, based on what? A mother who chose to divide her family as she divides a land she holds more dear than her children? I don’t know. I am convinced now I will never understand. In a land of magnificence and a pristine environment in which to raise our child, our home, our garden and horses and business, our life; hatred is just a fence away. There are a few ‘situations’ we will never comprehend, we will never be able to fix. All we can do is walk away. The land is indifferent. Our loved ones are not.
Is there no perfection in this world? Do we spend a lifetime seeking what we may not find?
We go through our spells where the world seems magical, perfect and without ‘situations.’ These moments are fleeting, but often last long enough to remind us what we are seeking, what we are working towards. Perhaps like the carrot before our nose. Those moments are ones of true peace and contentment. We are not longing, not wanting, not seeking; not hurting, not living with pain or fear. Are these moments random or chance, or visions of what life can be if we learn to control our emotions? We can not control the world around us, circumstances that affect us. All we can control is how (and if) we react and feel. Those things we can control, although I can’t say I know how yet.
Ultimately, we are reminded that life is not about the past. It is about now; a compilation of past experiences, future plans, and present situations. And now is constantly changing. Still, we find ourselves so reluctant! It is scary. It is hard. But it is also exciting, and fresh, and necessary. Without change, we remain like still water and in time, turn stagnant.
At times, I cling desperately to the past, to a situation which was once so comfortable. But I see it is no longer there, it is but a memory to grasp on to, and learn to find comfort in the new world around me, in the new day. Change reminds us of what is really important. Nothing teaches us more than the challenges of change. Standing still, we know it all.
Change is a vital ingredient to life. It can be simple and subtle at times. Or harsh and drastic. Waves in the sea, fluctuating with the wind, with the weather, with the moon. We strive to stay afloat.