At your deepest level, what do you most want to know in your lifetime?
You get up.
Take a shower.
Catch your breath.
Force yourself to eat something.
Put on your sassiest lipstick.
Remind yourself to breathe.
Hold your head high.
Send along your love.
Give yourself some peace.
You stand under the stars.
Inhale the fresh, snowy air.
You look up in awe.
Thank God for what was.
And what is going to come.
You continue to love.
You exhale slowly.
You take one step.
Then the next.
You march on.
Today, this question resonates very differently within me than it would have a year ago, or even six months ago. This question asks not just what do I want to know, but essentially, why I want to know it, and how knowing it will change me, my beliefs, and the course of actions that make up the rest of my life.
The poem above was written last month by a blogger I have followed for quite some time, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get it out of my head. Anna, don’t be mistaken, that’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s a wonderful and inspiring thing. It shapes the thing I most want to know, the thing I struggle day in and day out to understand –
Why is it that for some, marching on is habit, ritual, requires no extra thought or energy or anything; and for others, marching on is a success in itself, for demons, physical or mental or emotional, stand tall and overpowering in their way, making each step, each motion a challenge, a change, a life-altering event?
Somehow, a shift in the universe moved me from group A to group B late in 2009, and although I’ve tried (desperately at times) to switch back to the first group in the last several years, I’ve found myself without a choice, standing in the back of the line, chin down and eyes a little misted – wondering how, and why, I ended up where I did.
As time has gone on, I’ve adjusted more to the group I’ve become a part of, and have come to expect everyday things to greet me with challenges in ways they never used to. Sometimes, I feel empowered by the shift, and grateful for the broadening of perspectives it has given me. Other times, I silently rage against the system or the universe or whatever it was that caused the change, and I outwardly miss the life I once had, the one where marching forward was the only thing, there was no standing still or sliding backward or grappling with the ability just to sit and catch my breath. One where there was no breath to catch, there was just breathing.
What I most want to know in my lifetime is why. Why such bad things happen to such good people. Why their friends and family and loved ones are left helpless, unable to render the situation right, no matter how hard they are willing and able to try.
Unfortunately, I think I will have to settle for realizing that I have come quite far, despite what I feel at this moment; and that the shift in my world has reminded me everyday to be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting their own battle, which is a pretty powerful thing to remember – even if just for a minute.
Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”