The words took hold of me while I scrolled through Facebook, that place where I can only spend so much time before frustration builds. The words came from a woman responding to a post about the climate crisis.
I sit here, a day later, thinking about the convenience of this claim. How often it is used to excuse our personal actions, or inactions. This letting go of control and giving it up to whatever name we, individually, call the divine force that moves through all of us. It is a false claim. An untruth we choose because it’s convenient. To put up our hands up and declare that something is beyond our control is to give up the truth of our existence. We are not puppets in some divine play, we are the directors, the actors, and the story-tellers. We exist to be active players in this game we call Life.
We are God’s hands.
God is not responsible for the mass extinction we are facing and the rise of our oceans. God is not responsible for the fires ravaging the face of Earth or the hunger in the bellies of children whose parents cannot afford food to fill them. God is also not responsible for our individual and collective greed. Our hoarding of wealth and want for more. God is not responsible for the felling of our rainforests and the bleaching of our coral reefs. God is not responsible for our choice to burn coal and fossil fuels over harnessing the power of sustainable resources. The responsibility is ours. Alone.
If we are going to claim to be children of “God,” or whatever name we call the creation that brought us here, we must also realize that as children, someday we must grow up and take responsibility for our individual lives. We must step outside the shelter of convenient excuses and realize that our hands are pulling up the roots, stripping our mountains bare, and turning the ignitions in our vehicles in the name of convenience. It may be an “inconvenient truth,” to admit that we are the masters of our own existence here on Earth, but it is the truth, nonetheless. We can either face it, or suffer the consequences of denial.
I once read about a man who came into the world remembering everything. By everything, I mean not what had happened to him, but what was going to happen to him. He knew exactly what would happen before it would happen, including his own death. Instead of feeling relieved or in control, the man felt utterly depressed and helpless. The very joy of existence had been extinguished from his life before he was even born. Whether this was all true or not, I feel is of little importance. The concept is what matters.
Although I’ve had premonitory dreams and visions since I was a young child, I was certainly not born knowing how my life would play out. There were only two things I knew with a visceral conviction: that I would one day be a writer of books, and that I would be a mother of two kids. And, thank goodness for that.
Let’s forget about the really bad bits that are beyond our control. No one wants to know they will happen, and thankfully I’ve gotten through them thus far. Instead, let’s talk about the good bits. By good, I mean those bits that allow us to grow and truly live. Even those that come with much angst and the sometimes sharp stab of growing pains, They’re usually the best bits, after all.
I’ve been giving this some thought these days. How, for instance, I would never have imagined I would be traveling to England in a pattern that has become “once a year.” Ten years ago I would have labeled that idea as a fairy tale fantasy relegated to the world of dreams. Yet, this fairy tale has become a reality. And, although I would never have guessed it to be my future truth as a young child, it all sort-of makes sense. Yet, had I know these magical trips were in my future, they would have, no doubt, lost some of their magic in the knowing.
What about those books I always knew I would write? Well, that dream was adorned with embellishments in my child-mind as I devoured tomes by famous writers. Maybe one day, I thought, I’ll be just like one of them.
What utter nonsense that has turned out to be. Yet, how we can hold onto some dreams while forgetting the blessings of the life we do lead. I’m 45 years-old and I’m only just learning to let that one go. I’m currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and cannot in the least bit relate to her claim that she never once held onto a fantasy that she would one day be famous. Nor, it seems, did she ever care if her books were ever read for more than mere entertainment. She wrote for herself, she claims, even Big Magic, which is, on the outside, a book intended to help others discover their own “big magic.”
Nope, that was not me. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in my outer world, and some days I’ve gotten so caught up in it, I’ve forgotten that I have made a difference in many individual’s lives, including my own. Just not in the way I once had imagined I might. And, that’s just perfect.
I’ve realized that “knowing” can be debilitating. I used to, not so long ago, rely upon cards and readers to predict my future. I can’t tell you how many “psychics” have told me I would one day write “best sellers.” Now, perhaps this may one day happen, as some of them also predicted I would travel to England, and frequently. But it may not, and that is okay. In fact, that is just perfect.
Life, I have gradually come to realize, is not about the striving and reaching for some set destiny. It is about the beautiful (and ugly) unfolding of the unknown. The “who” hiding under the covers, waiting to discover that life is moment after moment of becoming. If we are forever focused upon the destination we think we are meant to get to, or that label that is meant to become us, we forget about the essence. The pieces of the self learning be whole. The being, learning how to live. Truly live. Breathing each moment into existence with wonder and saying, “Yes. Yes, this is life. My life. In all its beautiful unknowing. I will take me for what I am. Forever and always, until death ends the mystery. And I will live, yes live, each breath with gratitude for what it unfolds within me and outside of me. Because, it is just perfect for this journey called “my life.”