Events that foiled my dreams

Overhearing three young men talking about their future, mapping it with precision including the exact age they will be when they get married (they are still single) when they will retire (before 50 years of age) and when they will start their business (before 30).

I love their enthusiasm and their certainty. They sound like I did when I was their age. So clear and righteous about how I would dictate the terms of my life, which might include other people, as if I alone were the conductor and the entire Universe was there for my biding.

I feel for their journey. The human journey. Most everyone goes on some form of this journey. Things do not work out as we so meticulously planned. The marriage partner might show up but are we more attached to the age of being married than the nature and quality of the relationship. Do we throw ourselves into the business before 30 because we have something to prove, or for the love of what we are creating?

And what about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Events so beyond our control. Illness, loss, environmental catastrophe, economic upheavals…

Listening to them talk with all the hope they have for their lives, I reflect on my own.

The buttress of events that foiled my dreams also forged my character. It was not an easy path. But when is it? Ultimately it is because we all walk this path that we find connection to our humanity, that we might respond with compassion to our fellow humans when they fall. Because we know that place when our knees hit dirt.

It is also the realm of elder. The person who knows the path from falling and getting up again. And who can hold the space for inquiry and reflection without stabbing to death the beautiful hubris of youth?

I wish them well. I hold these three strangers in my heart in the prayer that life will bring them to wisdom and joy as they navigate their next 20 years.

November 12th 2018

Photo taken November 12th 2018