I caught Rudy digging in a corner of the yard today, coating his entire lower body with dust. I scooped him up and took him into the bathroom for a rinse, where I lowered him gently into the tub. And, as he always does, he allowed me to pick him up and carry him without a peep or a wiggle but he began to struggle and flail just before his feet touched down even though I kept a secure grip on him the entire time.
It’s the same with Reggie, every time I pick her up and put her on the bed. Always the dogs lose faith in me, right at the end, that I won’t drop them or throw them. No matter how many times I carry them safely and set them down gently, always they struggle and try to escape from what they seem sure is going to be a hard landing.
We all want to control as much of our lives as possible—where we live, where we work, who we love, how we spend our time. And when life scoops us up unexpectedly and carries us in a direction we hadn’t planned to go, it’s natural to want to struggle against it sooner or later. Especially when it looks as though we might fall if we don’t take matters into our own hands rather than let life have its way with us.
When my mother got sick, I realized how few things I actually can control, and I was conscious each day of the need to be mindful and present in the moment while at the same time surrendering my own will and letting the current of life take me where it was going to take me. Fighting the current that carries us wastes energy and causes more problems than it solves. So I kicked up my feet and leaned back my head and allowed myself to float for the time I was with her, diligently attending to whatever was right in front of me at each moment and letting the past and the future take care of themselves.
Since I’ve been back in my home, though, it’s been harder for me to relax and ride the waves. I’ve started getting anxious about the direction I’m going and I want very much to be the captain of my little boat rather than a helpless passenger. I’ve started to struggle and to flail because I’m afraid of landing hard somewhere that I don’t want to be.
But here’s the truth: the universe has never once let me fall, really fall. I’ve struggled and I’ve failed and I’ve lost before, but I have never fallen down to where I couldn’t recover. I’ve always had support and opportunities and resources available to stay afloat no matter how severe the storm. I have always been safe in the arms.
I need to keep the faith that life is taking me where I need to go right now and that all is well.
If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.
~ Mary Pickford
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
~ David Whyte, from “Sweet Darkness”
Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
~ Victoria Holt