It’s warm, not quite hot, and it’s humid, but there’s a slight breeze to alleviate the stifled air. The slightly overgrown path snakes downward towards the water, making the city feel more jungle, less concrete. That’s it! I feel less concrete. These Saturdays slumber on slowly as they press me in to learn to stop. Stop making, stop producing, stop demanding, stop doing, and simply be. Sabbath.
I love this city. I love how the old parks make it feel like this place is stuck in between worlds, the grit of reality and the magic of fantasy. Old poets, playwrights, authors, song writers, and movie makers will convince you the same. New York is always ready for adventure. Even on these slow days, anything can happen. You can be anywhere. Anyone. So why do I feel so trapped in me?
My problem? I have the sensibilities of an artist, I want words that wax and wane, describing my days as if they are pages or scenes or stanzas or verses. Even writing these thoughts I am pressured to present them with pomp and circumstance. Each Instagram Post illuminating the pieces of an imaginary existence. I can’t even write a blog without sounding pretentious and indulgent.
I am not imaginary. My life is not fantasy.
I am real.
And sometimes that’s the trouble. There’s no plotted course, there’s no perfect next step. Where is my arc taking me? Am I a flat character in someone else’s narrative? I should get to the point.
I am real.
Carpe diem. Seize the day.
I am responsible for what I do. I am responsible for my decisions. I don’t have a script. I am not a victim of my life. I am responsible. I deal with the repercussions of my actions.
Now, I have a good life. I think there are many decisions I chose right. But how can I know for sure?
If I was the hero of a story I would have a clear course, a path from A to Z. Defeat the monster. Get the girl. But who is she? Does she want to be get? Be gotten? She has her own story. So what if the girl decides she doesn’t want this hero? Does she want the black smith? Is she the hero? Am I even in her story?
See, it’s getting muddy.
There’s no clear cast. I am the hero. I am the mentor. I am the plucky sidekick. I am farmer #2. I am the villain. I am the son. I am the brother. I am the friend. I am the crush. I am the crushed. I am the actor. I am the director. I am the stage hand. I am the barista. I am the grandson. I am the supervisor. I am the coach. I am the coffee roaster. I am the roommate. Who am I in my story?
Who are the others in my story? Who stays? Who is supposed to leave?
Stories are good because they teach us lessons, but the best teacher is experience, it is also the hardest.
You see why it’s easier to cloud my thoughts. Fill the space with activity. With things. With other people’s worries. With work. With watching other’s lives through a 6″ screen. With reading someone else’s story?
Can you tell I have a flair for the melodrama?
That’s my problem I suppose. My brain sees everything in technicolor and life is a more subdued hues. I am too scared to make a decision because the consequences.
What if it never happens?
Well what if it does?
And what’s the worst that happens if it doesn’t?
I suppose it is less either/or and more in between or and. And maybe I’m making this bigger than it ought to be and I am so worried about making the wrong decision, I make no decision at all. I don’t live in a fantasy, but what if I forget to even live in reality? I suppose I should get more comfortable in the nebulous.
Sometimes I wish God would be more clear about every step I should take instead of trusting me to live the life He’s given me. Then I don’t. How great is that He gives me life to live, messy and rife with possibility, and chooses to direct when needed, but more often than not just walk along.
Walking down an overgrown path snaking down towards the water. The path splits. Where should I go?