With the benefit and wisdom of hindsight, I can easily realize that in the past, when I have tried so hard to bend and shape the events in my life to create the outcome I wanted, it was pointless. What was going to be, would be. I don’t think of myself as a religious person, but in some crazy pattern of circumstance, I have come to believe in fate. I think we have a matter of influence in what happens in our lives, but I do think that certain things are meant to be. Maybe that makes me unrealistic, or a dreamer, or crazy, but I have too many instances in my life that I can only believe clicked together by some force in the universe that I have little control of.
However, I don’t think fate always equals beautiful outcomes. As much as we are destined to see certain wonderful things happen, fate also has a hand in the ugly parts of life—diagnoses of disease, death, loss of friendships, family, and yes… dreams. However, in the same breath that I am expressing my belief in fate, I can’t always say that I believe everything happens for a reason. Yes, it may be fate that brings about a child’s diagnosis of cancer. But is there some bigger, cosmic meaning? No, it is just awful. This was fate dealing the hand of destiny, but that doesn’t mean we can sit back and say, ah, yes, I understand now. Some things are just terrible and dreadful, it may be fate that it happened, but there is no beauty in it. Suffering can’t be explained away or softened by some force “working in mysterious ways”. Suffering and death aren’t mysterious in that sense, especially when you are the one in the middle of that experience.
Right now, I am wishing for so many things. I am wishing for my husband and I to be in a place we are dreaming of, starting a new adventure. I am wishing for financial pressure to be eased—even just a little bit. I am wishing for my nephew and his fiancée to find the peace, happiness and support they deserve. I am wishing for other members of my family to wake up and become better people. That last one is beyond the reach of fate, I am afraid. Though I wish for it, some things are impossible. Better that I know and accept that: Lesson #589 learned in years of therapy.
I wish that both my husband and I had extended families that were healthy and whole, and that we could cherish being a part of. Unfortunately, the stars haven’t aligned on this for either side of our family, and likely never will. It is not without our wishing or trying for that outcome. It is not without many nights of tears and frustration and so much pain on our end. It is also not without lies and painful rumors and comments that come back to us via all the wonderful ways we are connected to the world. It has taken some time, but we have learned that we can only control what we do, we know the truth and what is right, and we have to let the rest go. It is hard not to openly defend yourself to the world, to gossip, to hometown whispers. But, it doesn’t solve anything, or undo the words already spoken, or what many will continue to think and believe.
In a sense, some things we wish for are often unachievable even from the moment we murmur the words. We know this, and we still wish. I think there is some forgiveness in that process. Forgiveness of the universe that you know can’t give you what you need and want…but by putting it out there, somehow the hope is ever present, undying. The beauty of the hope outweighs the unattainable wish.
I am caught in a state of waiting for several wishes right now. These hopes of mine have an expiration date. It isn’t the unexpiring dream of a writing career that can outlast decades of birthday candles, and years of lost summers and sessions at the keyboard. There is always hope for that. The wishes of this moment are soon to be granted or denied…within days. I love and hate this time. Right now, the whole world is open and the possibility is there…the chance of the best outcome is still possible. In a few days, I can be crushed or elated, but right now, the there is still hope. As I watch the clock too closely, check my email and phone messages incessantly, and count the days left of possibility, I remind myself that what is supposed to happen, will happen. And with years of proof behind me as perhaps I have never had before, I have to trust in that. I can look back and see the times when I forced my hand, tried to reform the unyielding path of fate. Almost always, I took a much more painful path that led to the same place. That path was also always longer and fraught with added troubles that I might have avoided had I just let things progress as they were meant to.
So, I wait. We wait. I have done my part, tried my best, given the pieces of myself that I can. I have done all I can do without trying to force or pressure something I know in my heart isn’t right. But knowing I have to wait and trust does not lessen my longing for all of these things to snap into place. It doesn’t diminish my yearning for things to be easier than this…to be able to snap my fingers and find us in the right place and the perfect time, with everything we need and want in place.
And then, I remember when my wishes were so different. Not so long ago, only a few years ago, my wishes were so much more basic: To survive the depression I was battling, to find love, to see some kind of a light at the end of the tunnel I was constantly facing. Somehow, those things all happened. Those were huge wishes, far bigger than the ones I am waiting on now.
But no matter how much wisdom I have gained from all of that experience, today I still feel like the little girl I was so many years ago…standing barefoot in my back yard in North Carolina in the heat of the southern summer, holding tight to a dandelion stem and closing my eyes, making a wish, and blowing the billowy seeds into the air, hoping somehow my wish would be granted.