A bit of a change of pace for this post. I got to thinking the other day – always a dangerous pastime – about how many twists and turns there are in life. How its course can hinge on a single decision and the impact this can have down the years.
Defining moments, turning points, call them what you will, we’ve all had them. A second when life stops, holds it’s breath for a moment, and its direction is forever changed. They can be good, bad, glorious or devastating.
Some are gentle and unassuming. They float into your life, blending and weaving their insubstantial shape around you so you hardly notice the subtle shift in life’s fabric. With hindsight and deep understanding you recognise them for what they were – a moment when you spun off your present course and followed a new trajectory.
Then there are those moments of exquisite clarity when you’re hit by a static charge intensifying and assaulting the senses. You stand motionless, absorbing the moment while the world swirls round you in a kaleidoscope of brightness and colour, and you experience the brilliance of life as if for the first time.
This moment is dynamic, vibrant and fills you with total awareness. An instant so defined life can never be the same again and is imprinted on your memory and senses for all time. Usually these moments are points of deep insight and happiness, when seemingly random things fall into place and the obscure becomes obvious. They leave a mystical imprint.
Then there are other moments.
They confront you with devastation and loss, stop you in your tracks and challenge you to face things you hoped you would never see. There is no doubt life will change beyond all recognition.
Their shape looms solid, black and impenetrable. A presence so terrifying it stops the beating of your heart. Any insecurity you ever had makes you question yourself and the reality around you. The moment is shattering, and your response to it almost spiritual. ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’ was written for an experience like this.
What makes defining moments interesting is how we perceive and react to them. We hope we will behave well and find inner strength to cope when life derails us from our planned path, but none of us truly know how we will respond until we find ourselves in the maelström.
We can plot our course through life, connect the dots of these defining moments until we can see a pattern and realise we are in the place we were meant to be all along. It may not be the place we wanted, or the route we had mapped out, but it’s the place we need to be.
There’s a country song by Garth Brooks Unanswered Prayers, (the Captain and Missy are avid country music fans, I am not – I can’t listen to one without bawling my eyes out). The song is not a favourite of mine but the sentiment behind it is spot on.
We go through life thinking we know what we need and sometimes Life has to remind us we have no clue when it comes to the big picture. We have to learn to trust, go with the flow and have faith that things will work out.
Seems to me the most successful people – I’m talking well-balanced, happy and in tune with themselves – are those who see the bigger picture and more importantly their place in it. They see beyond themselves.
Maybe we should all try harder to be like them, I’m sure we’d all be a lot happier.