In the past, I have lamented about my having “wasted” my youth; I suspect we all have lamented that lament; I don’t anymore. I am at a place in my life journey now, where I can look back over the terrain that I have navigated, and I can see the benefit…if not the purpose…of the trip. Walk closely with me here…
In wrestling with my history (difficult relationships, failures, sloth and stagnation, abuses of others and indiscretions, seemingly ‘dead’ ends,…), I have looped back and tied up and seen connections that were not clear then. I can see how frustrations then, initiated these revelations…now.
For example, the memory of intense longing that I felt (in my 20s and 30s) at the doorway of a bookstore, informs me now of the importance of intuition…but also of proper timing. (“Yes, but not now.”) The perceived import and relevance of the knowledge, insights, and wisdom to be imparted by those books, only makes sense to me now; only now am I ready to read those books; only now do I have the hooks to hang the insights from. All, in good time.
In fact, I take comfort in that memory; I see the longing then to have been evidence of my being drawn along…all along. We are not puppets of God in this Universe, we have free will, but neither are we left totally alone to figure it all out. We get help.
Oh, and those deviations and lungings off the path, they were not ‘wasted’ time but times of information gathering, insight development, and even anecdote material…for future use. Had I not been through dark nights and prodigal journeys, I would have no knowledge of such things…I would not know that terrain…no way to relate to those who have such nights and take such journeys and who need my steadying evidence of survival. (“I got through it and learned from it and you will, too.”)
Throughout my dark nights and times of desiring to end my life, I had a sense that “this doesn’t make sense; I know this is not where I should be…where I belong. I want to go home.” Suicide seemed to be the only way to get home. But then I received messages…so many messages…that the only way to get there from here is THROUGH.
Looking back, I see that it was in the THROUGH that I picked up all the ‘tools’ I would need to be of use to others on the other side of it…tools like strength and stamina, faith and trust in what I could not see, anecdotes and stories of others who have shared their stories of their own journeys…stories heard and shared in mental hospitals, even language and jargon…and those books.
I have been wrong to criticize and condemn people…particularly young people…for playing video games hours and hours at a time…particularly the ones where the character gains experience points and gathers tools along the way. I sat through hours of knitting while my boyfriend and his friends played Dungeons and Dragons. I thought it was stupid. I have been concerned about the days my son has spent playing digital versions of the same sort of thing. But I have been wrong.
Teaching kids that we benefit from experience…especially ‘failure’…and to look out for tools, messages from bystander, signs,… that might be useful later on, is valuable in helping them get through this life…and not just ‘get’ through this life, but ‘gain’ from this life. Our lives are about more than just our lives. (By the way, don’t tell my son, but I have been reading Fallout Equestria. Does that make me a ‘mom-ony?’)
Finally, a friend and I have been sharing how we have often said, concerning our hard dark times, “I would not wish it on my worst enemy.” Life is damned hard and the ‘richest’ of lives is not for the faint of heart. I suspect that those who experience the worst sorts of journeys, are meant to do so. I, myself, believe that I asked for it…that I requested it; I did so intentionally because without my hard times I would be of little use to others, now.