Wednesday, March 30, 2011
And as I sit here in my favorite cafe, headphones in (What You Know by T.I. currently blasting in my ears), and smelling the aroma of the coffee, perhaps I can find a way to make life imitate art. Or in this case, music.
What You Know…
Statement or question?
Could go either way.
I think I’ll pose it as a legitimate question, for it will be much easier to answer. Let’s break it down into ‘white girl’ speak:
What Do I Know?
1. I know that no matter how much you plan for things in life to turn out a certain way, there always seems to be a monkey wrench thrown in to remind you of how chaotic things can get. The old adage that ‘life is what happens when you’re making plans’ is blatantly profound. The wrench is just an indication that even though we may do our best to ensure that the engine runs smoothly, when it stutters and stops, we have to rely on help to fix it. When we surrender to our own pride and need to control the inevitable (um, speaking personally here) then we find out it’s okay to fail a little and lean.
2. I know that it is often through our most adverse moments that we become the person we are meant to be. The hardships we face, and how we handle them help to shape our characters. Sometimes this happens from a single situation, and sometimes over years. And one day, we look back and are able to reflect on where we’ve come from with a fair bit of wisdom and relief that we will never go down that road again. We improve from our past, and conquer our conflicts. Eventually, we learn that our parents are pretty wise creatures in all of their ranting and raving about ‘life’ after all.
3. I know that you can’t be happy with someone else until you’re happy with yourself. More often than not, I think people look to fulfill the personal shortcomings they self-perceive by recognizing it as a force in another. Is that wrong? I can’t answer that. Each relationship between two people – be it friends or something deeper – is unique. I’m not sure the concept stems so much from finding a completion of strengths and weaknesses, per se, but in striking a balance between the mind, heart and soul. It’s all about learning to make sacrifices and compromise. And trusting in another.
4. To expound on the above, I know that the idea of loving oneself is ideal, but is it attainable? At times. I think we’re fooling ourselves to float through life on such an ego trip as to believe we have no flaws. For it is in those flaws and faults that our perfection lies. I’ve discovered the people who give the appearance of having it all together are usually the ones who are the most lost and insecure. Myself included. I put up a good front, but I crave attention and approval just like anyone else. It’s human nature. Not long ago, I had someone tell me that I bluff my confidence in order to mask others from seeing my weaknesses. Absolutely I do. So does everyone. But when we let our guards down and let someone else in, allowing them to see and share the ugly truths, the dark and stormy, the doubt and the fears, then we find that we are all fighting the same battle. There is camaraderie in that personal struggle. And shared faith to become something greater than we thought possible. When we are encouraged to break through our own barriers, there is no limit to what we can achieve.
5. I know, without a doubt, that there is a God above and that He is the guiding force in this life and the next. I will never deny my faith. It is the one, steadfast sanctity in my life. And always will be.
6. I know that no matter how bad of day I’ve had, a hug and a smile from my three-year-old niece, or my dogs happily bouncing off my legs because they’re happy to see me, is good medicine.
7. I know that music moves me. It’s a connection between the melody and harmony of life. It’s our emotions orchestrated to a tune that flows in and amongst our attitudes, our desires and our hurts. It’s the score of our spirit that exists solely in a manner of noise. That noise can lift us, or carry a lyrical message, or make no sense other than to the composer and the listener that finds it appealing. Without music, life would be less beautiful.
8. Likewise, I know that life without great food would be a travesty. I love food. I love to cook. I rank savoring a good meal right up there with great sex. Well, maybe they should remain in separate categories, but they can be equally fulfilling in their own right.
9. I know that to appreciate life, you have to find the humor even in the most mundane situations. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. And you have to laugh longer and louder than anyone else.
10. I know that without others to share in this journey, our lives would be shorter, and meaningless. How tragic not to share the troubles and the joys of this borrowed time with others. When we have friends and family to help us shoulder the burdens, or lift our spirits when we need support, we are blessed beyond measure. When our hearts experience the capacity to break, or love, or feel, we open ourselves up to a sacred correlation with another person. Our souls are enlightened because they are infinitely connected to their counterpoints in others. The ups and downs, and the ins and outs, are tolerable because there is comfort in suffering and experiencing them with another. All in all, it’s what makes life worth living.
Those are just a few of the things I know. Good Lord willing, I still have a lot of life to live. I hope and pray that I never get tired of learning. My best is still inside me, and each day I shine just a little bit more.
What I know is how very precious it all is. The fleeting moments…the ones that linger and test us…the ones where we clench our fists and question the fairness with which we have to contend…they are all the moments that take us a step further towards our destinies.
What you know…reach it, embrace it, achieve it, love it…it’s all a part of what makes and breaks us.
What you know…be determined to find out. Then grab hold of it and enjoy the ride.
Oh, and hats off to you, T.I. The title of your song helped to inspire my blog today.