This morning I’ve been using a cup of peppermint tea to drown out the noise of street sweepers. But maybe it’s more than that- I rarely have tea with myself. Today, I find myself hitting a wall, one that seems to loom over my head and drop from the sky. It’s my inevitable.
For me the inevitable is facing the choice to give up chasing the career I love for a career in the making. It’s falling back into familiar arms instead of having to catch myself. And so I am having tea and playing out in my head the different scenarios and picturing my life down the line.
Would I really be unhappy doing work I don’t feel as strongly about? Is there such a thing as going one step back in love? What if I just closed my eyes and thought of that life? Could I prepare myself enough to accept it?
In this morning’s copy of The New York Times there is an article by Rebekah Sanderlin, an army wife. She makes one of the most insightful cases I’ve seen thus far about what the death of Osama bin Laden means: the end of hopelessly preparing for the inevitable.
It — my husband’s death — became not an “if” but a “when.” Planning it — what I would say when I was notified, what songs would be played at his funeral, even how I would wear my hair — gave me a satisfying sense of control at a time when I knew that I had none. I believed that if I faced my greatest fears head-on, maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t be quite so scary. And it worked.
The downside of my pragmatism, however, was that I distanced myself from a man who was very much still alive. I became so good at doing things on my own that I became unable and unwilling to incorporate him into my life, even when he was home. For his part, he openly pined for Afghanistan, the place where he was most useful, wanted and needed. Sometimes I wished that he would stay there, too.
In the end Sanderlin’s husband lived–making it through four tours in Afghanistan. And when he came home, what of her plans? What of all that time spent wasted preparing for a future that was never to be?
It weighs on my mind, but all the tea in the world and eyes shut tight, can’t prepare me to accept my inevitable. Because at the end of each day and in the quiet whispers of each morning, I can hear a small voice saying the words I’ve known since I was a child: “I know the plans I have for you.”
Whatever you believe in, whoever it is you put your faith in, that hand has plans for you that connect your deepest passions, your deepest fears to your bare and untamed dreams. So don’t give up on them, don’t settle for less and don’t start planning their funeral for a future that you’d force yourself to accept.
Today, choose to defy your inevitable. Decide to pursue the life you dream of and fully believe it is the one you deserve.