do i dare
January 24, 2013
I shouldn’t go to class today, I thought as I drove there this morning. I am not in the right state of mind for this. How can I pause, and take hours to just think and write when there is pressing work to be done?
What is “pressing” anyway?
Yesterday I found it pressing to find the perfect light bulb. I walked up and down the hardware store aisles, looking for someone to help me make a decision—surprised someone had not already come, for that matter. I was playing a pretty good damsel-in-distress role, I thought, looking from the bulb I held in my hand to the myriad of, apparently, matching ones on the shelf. But I couldn’t choose just any of them; it had to be the right one.
Finally a man in the tell-tale red apron walked over to me. I looked at his nametag. Plumbing Expert. “Uh, I think I need a ‘lighting expert,’ actually,” I began. But he didn’t seem daunted by the “lighting” specification, so I explained my dilemma. He began a series of clarification questions. “Indoor or outdoor?” Indoor. “Bright or soft light?” I thought a moment. Well, my grandparents tend to like pretty bright lights. “Is it near a window?” Yes, there are lots of windows in the kitchen.
Eventually we settled on the perfect bulb. I opted against the usual call in my family [lowest price] in favor of the one that would shine brighter, last longer, and use less electricity. I was proud of my choice. So much so that this morning I almost hesitated to ask if they approved of the bulb. Since it hadn’t been mentioned yet, I was suddenly insecure—worried that they were not pleased.
But this morning brings new pressing issues. More glitches in the passport saga. My mind is anxious, running through my to-do list over and over. I need to call the embassy. I need to email the tax office. I need to make a scan, and send in the fax. I need to buy cheerios. I need to . . .
What do I mean by “need,” anyway?
Strange, I seem to recall speaking much of need, not so long ago. What do I need? When it comes down to it, my needs are very simple, on a daily basis. I need little to keep me content on any given day. A stolen pocket of warm sun in the middle of a winter day. An hour of dancing around with a roomful of others, none of us knowing—or much caring—what each person’s life issues and stresses are. All we care about, for this one hour, is that we are all, for now, well, “too sexy and [we] know it.”
I need to live.
I say that word—live—intentionally. I do not speak it lightly. I have not always chosen to live. There was a time in my life when I saw no good in my life. A time when I was dark, trapped inside a self I did not like. So my late 20’s and early 30’s have been years of challenge, but positive challenge. I am learning to claim this life as my own, and to claim the person I was created to be. I make my decisions and I choose my doors. I have chosen my door. Have I disappointed anyone in so doing? Yes. As I feared, I have disappointed people. But maybe, just maybe, part of the journey I am on means letting go of my failures. I was hurt—very hurt—by one response last night. An understated suggestion to “in the future” plan these things out better so as not to need last-minute documents. I almost wrote back desperate to justify myself. But I didn’t know this would happen . . .
I tried to plan ahead, but things changed . . .
Wait. I stopped myself. I will not justify my decisions. I have done the best I could. Maybe I do not function in the linear way the world expects me to, but I cannot change the complicated nature of my inner workings. There was a time when I tried to do so. That time is over.
Now it is time to live. There is business to be done. There are days to experience—alive—the simple gifts of a life: sun, dance, food, laughter . . . family.
T.S. Eliot comes to mind: “I grow old, I grow old . . . shall I wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach? . . . Do I dare to eat a peach?”
Do I dare? Do I dare to live a day without asking if I’ve done it right? Do I dare to be me, without apology? Do I trust that God will do with me as He sees fit, even if I do not stress about it?
I do not know if I dare or if I don’t. But I do know that I’ve never been able to turn down a challenge . . .