On Monday evening, I got on my knees and prayed. I’d been carrying around a heavy heart for the previous few days. In the last months, I have done everything I can think of to release the bucket of feelings I discovered festering inside of me. The problem was that underneath it all lay a desire to control it—to control some sort of outcome that involved less pain and confusion than I had already experienced. Although many of you may not even believe in any sort of religion, I will tell you why this was important for me to do.
I think I have been very clear on the fact that this has been a difficult year for me. You can hear Sara Bareilles’s That Guy’s An Asshole playing from my bedroom window, can’t you? They say that every hardship we face has stages and on Monday, I began to feel the tail-end of this one coming. I had tried everything: smoking, not smoking, drinking, not drinking, yoga, sleeping, relaxing, staying busy, etc. I felt anxious and despite my insightful questioning, my desperate attempts to not judge and understand, I was lost. Oh, man, here we go again. I could feel the lesson coming.
I don’t know how I got stuck again and in that fogginess, I took a knee down to pray. I informed the universe that I was at a loss and I asked for help. I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do to make this better. It hurts. I want to be better; please help me. I’m terrified of the future. I’m terrified that there will be nothing there for me; that is why I have been avoiding it. Help me move forward.
I got back up, got under the covers, and went to bed.
Yesterday, as I was walking home, I got my answer: an unexpected turn of events that gave me some clarity. The world had responded to my plea. It hit me like a bird hits a moving car’s window. I had surrendered on Monday without realizing I had surrendered. I had opened myself to the terrible possibilities. I would not have been prepared to receive the message I had a day earlier. It came on the day it was supposed to arrive. Perhaps, it even waited for me to be ready. Whether you believe in destiny or not is irrelevant to the message I want to transmit.
We need to kneel down. We need to be humble in accepting that day in and day out we have an expectation and an outcome that we are asking of the world. Sometimes these are met, but sometimes they are not. We need to go about acknowledging that there was a desire for it. Being on your knees is humbling. It doesn’t matter if you are praying to your God or the universe, or you’re speaking to yourself. One could argue that in the end, each of these means that same thing. The point is to accept our desperation, our humility, and our surrender to the world’s workings, despite our efforts.
So, I have no answers for you today. I don’t even have questions. As Jack Kerouac said, “I have nothing to offer the world, but my own confusion,” so I must kneel in hopes that I will learn to let it go. I no longer wish to repeat the words again or never. I realize now that each has it’s own weight. I’m moving toward a blank page—just white. Try to move your hardship to a blank page; instead of seeing what happens, live what happens.
Since then, it’s occurred to me that warriors kneel before war. If you’ve seen the war movies, you’ll know that just before battle there is an eerie calmness. The warrior must let go. The warrior must kneel and touch the ground. We’re all fighting a hard battle and maybe we just have to trust that what needs to happen on the field, will. We have to know we are afraid. We know we want to control, but we cannot. We must let the adrenaline, the courage, the preparation, and the heart lead the way. The rest is a blank page.
Hmmm…I suspect that I am about to embark on an obsession with war movies. Jane Austen has been benched.