My friend said that lately she was wondering where that motivated, excited self of hers had gone. Just a few years ago, it had seemed so clear what she needed – no, wanted – to do. And she had set about it – dived deep, surrendered, engaged – in a way that at the time made me, frankly, a little envious. I wanted her confidence. I could see how good it felt.
I was surprised to hear she felt so out of step with her inspiration. I don’t see her that way, and I said so as unambiguously as I could. (There’s no schadenfreude punchline to this story, in case you think you see that coming). It’s very hard, this losing of the light. I’ve sat in the dark most of my life. I tell myself it’s because I won’t abandon my own sadness, but maybe I am just scared. Anyway, it’s a feeling I understand and I take no pleasure in thinking someone I love has to grapple with it.
We get a lot of encouragement to commit ourselves totally to a dream. We are enticed to wear our accomplishments of growth and art like a glowing skin for everyone to admire. But we have little experience of forgiveness and forbearance with ourselves when the inevitable crash of disappointments shroud our dreams in thunderstorms and fog. We have to find a different kind of navigation – one that knows our destination without a clearly lighted path. Of course it’s scary. In the dark is where the risk is, and risk is really all there is to count on.