One thing I’ve known for a very long time is that Life doesn’t always go as planned. While it truly is a joyful dance of delight, at times it also has moments of disappointment and bumps in the road … reminding us that things change and sometimes we have to leave behind what no longer works. And so it is with this journey as well. Sunday morning I cheerily waved to my friends and drove away from a little town in northern PA … less than 24 hours later, I found myself safely back in the comfort of where I left. I’d anticipated staying a few days with another friend I’d known for several years, and looked forward to quiet conversations and a sharing of our respective journeys and plans for the future. Sadly, shortly after I arrived it became so very clear that the person I knew was no longer there, instead replaced with an angry, bitter man … one who seemed to have allowed his own difficult past and struggles with addiction wrap their tight arms around his heart once again. Continually lashing out against everything I am, and all I do, write & say, and against a world that lies beyond the strong and isolating walls of the protective life he’d built, my heart broke and sank along with the deepening night. A final shout told me all I needed to know, and I left shortly after dawn the next morning.
I’ve always realized that my life and what I am doing do not suit everyone … that many will, or do already, think I’m a bit crazy. I know there will be more challenging days along the way, and I have no doubt that at times I’ll wish I were “at home” in my own bed … but I also know without question that this journey, this Ride, is a wonderful gift beyond all measure, and that there is a purpose in it. That it is something that has spoken to my spirit for longer than I’ve walked this earth … it is me. And worth going all the way. So, I am now back where I started at my first stop, and tomorrow will go on to the next … this is what Life is about. It doesn’t grow in wonderfully straight, narrow and even rows … it changes, it moves, it expands, it evolves. And hopefully it flourishes. Sometimes we have friends who share the long road with us, and sometimes they come along just for a little while. We cannot take them where they don’t want to go; and we learn that, on occasion, for our own health & wellbeing we have to pull over, open the door and allow them to get out at another stop along the way. We can wave, wish them well, say a prayer … and leave with joy and peace still in our heart.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery – isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.” ~ Charles Bukowski