God comes to you disguised as your life, said Paula D’Arcy. I read this today and it rung true.
Long ago, as a small girl with pigtails, I thought of my future life as a straight line forward. There were neither bumps, potholes or sharp curves. Instead there was a handsome and gentle husband, well-behaved kids, a cookie-cutter home and a perfect lawn. My future plan, back then, didn’t involve blisters, friends’ betrayals, lack of money, rebellious teens, arguments with spouse, sickness, death. My plan also failed to include the fact that I am a person who frequently puts my own needs and ambitions before anybody else’s. My dreams left out the pain it often would cause to get myself down from the throne of my own life. Did the dream involve all the laughs? I don’t remember.
Back then I thought of life as skipping on stones in a river, and never missing a single stone. With dry feet and a victorious smile, I would make it to the other side, never having failed at landing exactly where I needed to be.
I know now that I was always destined to stumble and fall. Failure was inevitable. Why?
I also learned that only by forced falling and failing, by being rubbed, stubbed and scratched by life I would become a person of strong character, able to love, forgive and share. The bumps in the road have shaped me. But so has the ability to enjoy, to laugh and sing with a voice less perfect than Bob Dylan’s.