Be Careful What You Wish For


life

I posted this in June, during recovery. I apologize for the repeat, but this is one of two things I’m adding today in honor of the New Year. I don’t usually wish a Happy New Year, since nothing really is predictable. But I do hope that we all get some wishes answered, and pray you all wish well.

When I was younger, I desperately wanted to see my future, to know what was to be. In my arrogance, I thought I knew everything, and as it turns out, I know next to nothing.  Less than nothing sometimes. My ignorance grows with age.

Now, looking back at what things litter the path of my personal journey, the triumphs and the broken bodies, I’m thankful that I didn’t know what was to come. Even the good things, but most certainly the bad. It would have been too much. It would have destroyed me, and, I suspect, it would destroy most of us.

I don’t know much, but think this much is true. We’re here to get through it somehow, and to learn what we can, but only one day at a time. Or, sometimes, just one hour at a time. That, and it’s important to learn how to be kind.

More knowing would fill us with grief and fear and tear us apart. We just aren’t strong enough to handle it.

Let the young believe that they know everything, though. We need their optimism and energy. Life will teach them too. It always does. But we should not wish to see the future. We should wish to live each day to the hilt, we should hope we have the courage to face what comes, and the future will take care of itself.

From a scene in “The Passenger”, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Jack Nicholson as reporter named Locke:

Locke repeatedly asks the girl, as she looks out the window, “what can you see? what can you see now?”
And he tells her this story:
“I knew a man who was blind. When he was nearly 40 years old he had an operation and regained his sight….At first he was elated, really high—faces, colors, landscapes. But then everything began to change. The world was much poorer than he had imagined. No one had ever told him how much dirt there was, how much ugliness. He noticed ugliness everywhere. When he was blind, he used to cross the street alone with a stick. After he regained his sight, he became afraid, he began to live in darkness, he never left his room.
After three years he killed himself.”
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9 Replies to “Be Careful What You Wish For”

  1. This reminds of something I learnt when I was merely a child, and it seems so apt.

    “Forget the past
    Shut the future
    And live in present”

    And self realization is of the most precious gifts we can ever receive.

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  2. Thank you for sharing these excerpts, and for your thought-provoking words. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the backwards and forwards of my life and if I’ve been using my days productively. I feel fortunate in my life – that all, so far, has been good (knocking on wood) – and I try to be helpful to those who have burden or ‘things’ they just can’t handle. I have beautiful neighbors who lost their young son at 7 years of age, and now the dad has cancer at 41. He’s doing well, my family is helping, as are other friends, but you never feel your’e doing enough and you feel guilt for their misfortunes.
    My 16-year-old daughter began her first ‘real’ job, my parents are getting up in age but still living well, and my 82 year old, mother-in-law – who has survived 3 cancers and still smokes – is visiting with us…I keep thinking about new beginnings and endings. I don’t mind the new beginnings, and I naively push the endings as far away as possible…all living day-to-day and appreciating each one (most of the time)…
    AnnMarie 🙂

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  3. We all have a journey. Or we simply wouldn’t be here embarking on it. Travelling through life is constant yet we can feel pause creep in; sometimes we keep it at bay, biding time with frivolous things, and sometimes it can envelop us. The good only comes from knowing the bad, the sweetness arrives once we are familiar with bitterness, joy follows sorrow – being able to pull the positive out of thin air is not only an art form but a way of life.
    Cheers for the good read. 🙂

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  4. Fantastic post. I agree and go about my life surviving, tasting as much sweetness as I can and being kind. This post touched my heart and mind making me smile just that little bit more today.

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    1. Thanks, Errant. I’m glad you got something out of it. It was one of those things that has been ricocheting in my mental waiting room, looking for a connection, for days! Reading the quote from that movie lit the fuse.

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