the things not clearly marked


Today, the wind is blowing hard, hissing and wailing through all the walls. The world shakes. It is warm outside, but everything is grey. Right now, that feels right. That looks how I feel, except I’m quiet. All thoughts turned inward, churning and chewing themselves up. There are no answers, only feelings. Emotional debris upended like tilled earth.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of a right decision. The right choice. The right thing. There are things where I just don’t know what that is. Where things look great on paper, but they’re not actually great. Where things are complicated and sticky, and right has left the building. Because rarely are things as black and white as we pretend them to be.

If there’s a clear cut right and wrong, life is neater. Easier. Able to be hospital cornered and tidied into smooth creases. A perfectly made decision, sharply done. Easy to identify. No muss, no fuss.

But in all honesty, the important decisions are rarely that. They’re messy and layered; they wreck and raze things. They’re not clearly marked good and bad. Sometimes, there is no perfect answer, no right one.

At the end of the day, I believe in following your heart. Sure, it may take you straight off a cliff – into shark infested waters – but nothing in life worth having is EASY. Or safe. Or pristine. All of the good things are wonderfully, horribly messy. They’re chockfull of complications, missteps, saying too much, and loving harder and more fiercely than you ever imagined.

What, though, do you do when you love two things? You can’t drag out a scale and weigh one against the other. You can’t haul out a tape measure and find the tallest form of love. You cannot assess which matters more or most, or if the first somehow overshadows the second.

Make one choice – break one heart. Make a different one – and you break another. But broken hearts are funny things. They don’t shatter, like glass. They develop scar tissue. They are resilient. More resilient than we often dare to acknowledge, because it’s a nearly terrifying revelation. The possibility and potential might, then, be infinite. Bottomless. And then what?

I don’t know. I truly don’t. But I do know that one love does not negate another. Just as one choice does not make others vanish.

Life, at its best and worst, is chaotic and messy. It is what it is – but it is also whatever we dare to make it. Think about that for a minute, and it’s kind of amazing. We may get blown around by the wind, sometimes. It might get cold out there, and it might seem like winter is forever. But we all have an invincible summer within us (to paraphrase Camus). Reach in and find it — and there’s nothing you cannot do.

“Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~Anais Nin

“You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.” ~Neil Gaiman

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