We’ve all uttered those words when something bizarrely fictional lands on front pages as truth, as real happenings, rather than something that woke us in a cold sweat in the middle of the night.
What are we privy to?
What are we oblivious to?
What are we numbed by?
I know my answers are not living out in the world somewhere, not magic to be delivered by meeting someone spectacular, doing a big deal nobody else thought of, or inventing some new social construct to change people’s lives.
Yes, all of those interest me, and most days commands my full attention to them, but I must – we all must – not let them take over our lives, our persona, and become our identity. Having written that, I wonder if I had been handed these words on some plaque at 13, 16, 18, 29, 30, or 50, I wonder if I’d have paid them heed.
Better answers, and the better/harder questions, are inside. Inside me, for me. Inside you, for you.
I have been pondering lately – writing a letter to say the unsaid, to answer the questions I never answered because I was not asked, to explain things I never explained because I was never asked to explain; not to the world, not for publication, but just from me to them, one at a time. Are they entitled to know? No. Am I required to tell these stories? No. But these are not the most important questions, are they?
If we leave behind a will, or a diary, or an unpublished manuscript without our name on it, won’t it all be lost – gone, into ashes, and dust and blown away?
I don’t want to be blown away, which is not to say I fear being lost in the dust and grit of time like so many dead leaves on a forest floor, but I don’t want what I’ve spent my life working for and looking for to be lost or forgotten because I didn’t pass it along.
Our deepest darkest thoughts are not for billboards or posting in the viral marketplace, they are for us and us only – unless we care to share them. Shared with a stranger, they make interesting stories and provide background context. But what else do they do? What could they do, and for whom? Some might argue that this is a narcissistic way to burnish myself for when I’m gone. It isn’t, but I see how it could look that way to those I share with …
Looking inward is not a dark place, but I see how it could be.
Looking inward is seeing deep – not objectively, of course – to see what went wrong, and why. But it offers a chance to, from our own point of view, to see what went right, and why.
And for some things, there are no clear explanations. There is simply that memory of a time, a place, a smile – no year or decade could ever trump that moment – no experience can eclipse those moments.
Not moments of simplistic love or magic or learning or pleasure – but instead, all those elements, at one time and place. Those moments were never solitary. Their remembrance shouldn’t be either.