We Need People Who Can Cast a Vision Forward
Everything hit me sometime Sunday morning and my slide into despair started. As I sat on the back stoop I was aware of how pathetic I was. Outfitted in a crappy sweat outfit that didn’t match and wrapped in a blanket for extra warmth. It was raining and the new puppy who had been interjecting life into us had suddenly become a drain. He decided he didn’t want to go out and pee. I was too messed up to do anything about it but bitch. We both sat and stared in the rain hoping something would save us.
In the corner of my eye I saw our neighbor. Someone who has become an anathema to me during this quarantine. I think he knows I have been avoiding him. In the pouring down rain he yells, “I heard you sold your house.” Got an offer, yeah, but we have the inspection and other things to deal with and who knows what kind of shit show that will be. He yelled it as to be sure I understood he wanted to talk. I yelled at the dog that the rain wasn’t letting up and we should go back in and into hell we both went.
I knew everything we wanted was happening. In the midst of a world crisis we had actually sold our home. That the six years of work we had done was paying off. We were actually going to be able to move ahead to the next step in our plan. The entire thing thrust me into an emotional cataclysm. It was Easter and my kids weren’t there. One of them was. The others had moved away and I couldn’t go see them. This damn pandemic continues to drag on. Somewhere there is a lot of death, but because it is not at my back door I continue to ignore it. Pathetic wretch that I am. Constantly self-centered. It’s not that I am apathetic to their suffering, I am just apathetic to life.
I am aware that my focus has shifted. That due to the imposed isolation I am forced to think seriously about what is right in front of me. That thing I have been eagerly waiting to get free of. That life I no longer want I am now forced to look at and embrace. I do because that is what you do to cope. You get really involved in the present. In the day to day of the house, your backyard, cooking, cleaning, playing house. You start to like it. To re-engage. It starts to become important. Then the reminder. The house sells. Your life isn’t here anymore.
One of the most difficult things to do is to be really engaged in the present and hold onto to a vision for the future. Few people, especially now, have the ability to cast a vision of the future, because there is too much uncertainty. We are simply too busy managing today. Some people, no matter what circumstances, are happy where they are and don’t understand why others aren’t happy too. They can’t propel us forward because they can’t do that themselves. We need something to hold onto to help us move forward. Something that will light the way when the path gets dark or we are stuck on the back stoop in a deep depression.
For lack of a better example, and my inability to be very creative right now, I think of the movie Return of the King. They had that Lord of The Rings trilogy on over the weekend. In that final battle our warriors are weary. As they fight you wonder if one will be slain. We understand clearly that they are being loyal to the cause and their friend Frodo. As long as he is out there trudging along they fight. The vision of the ring being destroyed and darkness being obliterated is the vision they need to keep going when they are worn out. When it feels as if they have lost all hope. The vision of their courageous friend and a future utopia are all they need to enter and stay in battle.
In times of despair we need a picture. Lose that view and you lose yourself. For a moment I imagine fragments. A small yard. Big family room. Long dining room table. There is a lot around. The ocean isn’t far away. I attend an old church. I have friends there. We drink wine. I write a lot and connect with people online. I have my books. They have a great deal of meaning to me. We travel. Have cute cars and the kids come visit us. It’s not the life I ever knew I wanted. It’s the life I need.
In times of uncertainty we need people who can give us hope.
In a book I read of a well-traveled composer. He doesn’t hesitate to move on when he is unable to create. I see possibilities. In another book a woman encourages other women to understand themselves and what they want out of life. I feel encouraged. A podcast reminds me of what is possible. Gives me help. My journal reminds me of what is important. Serving as a motivator to keep going. My own words pushing me on. Surrounding me are people who can’t move me more than two inches from where they are, but in the past and beyond my present are people who can. I just have to find them. I need specks of possibilities. I need to hear and see things that will maintain a vision of where I want to be.
On that back stoop yesterday all I could see was what is right in front of me and looking solely at that skewed my vision of the future. All I could see was a dark figure coming across my yard to remind me of my past. Questioning my every move. Injecting doubt where there was none. We need people who can push us forward because during times of isolation and doubt we can lose our vision and motivation for moving forward.
We can wrap a blanket around us and sit out on the back stoop feeling sorry for ourselves. We can forget where we have been and where we are going. The people we need are in books, talking on podcasts, giving online lectures, and writing articles. Find them. Find people who give you permission to dream and achieve great things.