“Courage, dear heart.” C.S. Lewis
There is a saying that I’ve come to appreciate in the last couple of years: I don’t have to see the whole stair case to take the next step. This is pretty much the way I set my sails today. I stopped asking life the question, “Why?” a while ago. The answers, if there ever were any, were never satisfactory. There are no good reasons why I lose a job, a dear one dies, a child suffers, a country is in poverty, or a world is melting. I’ve come to realize that even if I did know the answers, I might not have the faculties to truly comprehend them. So I go back to my little staircase.
Often my toe has to feel for the next step. What if I trip? What if it hurts? What if it’s too big? What if I’m not enough? All questions that should be filed under the “Why” file, but I’m a sweet child, and I often forget. When I stopped asking, “Why?” I had to shift my perception to the idea that there was a purpose to my momentum forward. Asking, “What if?” only brings me up short. It’s inspiration that lifts my foot and leans me towards the next step. That’s another lesson recently learned: inspiration doesn’t show up until I put my hand on the knob, step out in my running shoes, sit down in front of the page… it hovers until there is action for it to flow through. Then it comes. So I I close my eyes and take the step.
Another saying, roughly: when I take the first step towards the universe, it rushes forward to meet me. Yes. This is my experience as well. It seems, again, that I’m given precisely, at that precious moment, what I need to move forward. And so, I know that my needs are met in increments, piecemeal, to the tiny step I take in understanding. It’s almost like a mystical treadmill. I take the step in faith that the moving belt will appear under my foot at the speed in which I need it to move in order to keep from falling. If I stop, for fear of falling or stumbling, the progress is halted. At least until I lean forward once more.
But what if I don’t have the strength to move forward? What if I’m weighed down by nasty expectations, profound depression, inconsolable grief, rancid resentment? What if lifting my hand takes every effort of heart and soul. There’s no shame in defeat. It’s the fallow ground of rebirth. The place I lie in wait for the soil within me to turn. And it does. It’s where the seeds of willingness…so tiny and fragile…begin to sow. And there is an ever so slight shift in the light and in my perception. I am able to ask for help. And the next step of the staircase become illuminated in time for me to step down.
I don’t know why or how. I only know that for me, it does. I’m on a need to know basis.