Keep your crystal ball, I want a bird’s eye view of the path I’ve chosen. Make no mistake, I don’t want to know the outcome. I’m not rushing off to a fortune teller in hopes of getting validation that I’m on the right track. I’ve consulted the runes enough times to get confused over their seemingly mixed signals. They offer some encouragement, but I want more than that.
I want to sore above the trees and get the kind of perspective that only a bird can get. I want a view of the horizon. I want to see right up to the edge without any spoilers. I don’t want to know how it ends. I don’t want to know if there will be a “happily ever after.”
I want to know if I chose the correct path. I want to see if the guideposts are meant for me. I want reassurance that the struggle is due, without knowing the payoff.
Please don’t tell me to have faith.
I’ve had faith before. I’ve continued blindly on what I thought was the right path. The signs along the way were screaming at me to turn around. But I had faith, and I kept going down that path. I had faith, but I didn’t believe.
I Am Not a Bird
Jen and Will were talking about controlling their dreams. They can go back to sleep and continue a dream. They can tell themselves what they want to dream, as they are falling asleep. I could do that as a kid, too. And so I go to bed and tell myself to dream that I am a bird flitting from the top of one pine tree to the next. In my bird body I will brave the winds and skim the hillsides and get a view of the path I’m on.
But I’m not a bird. No matter how hard I try, I can’t make myself dream of flying over treetops. Instead, my dreams are full of anxious conversations, frantic unpacking of the same boxes and endless searches for lost knick knacks. My dreams reflect my waking hours, and in my waking hours, I cannot see my path clearly, even though each unpacked box sends me further along that path. I’m too distracted by finding the lost staples that go with the found stapler.
Reassurance in the Little Signs
I don’t have wings, and even if I could afford to pay a pilot to get me up in the air for a view of this beautiful valley, I still wouldn’t see my path. It’s fine to pretend there is a way to find reassurance in our choices, but the not knowing is what this journey is all about.
Instead, I find comfort in the little signs that say I’m heading in the right direction. Those signs are easy to miss. Others would not see the signs as I do, because they are meant for me. I view them through my lens.
Recently I asked Jen and Will to write letters to their six year old selves. I wondered if they would have advice or cautionary tales. I worried their letters would be all ho-hum, life is rough, dad is a jerk and mom is ….. whatever. But, no! Their letters were joyful and funny and whimsical and happy. That’s a sign that this path is right.
When we can sit down for a meal – all four of us – and laugh and connect and even complain and vent – that is a sign.
It’s another sign when we all laugh at the same inside joke. And that inside joke is another sign.
When I don’t have to facilitate or mediate and the relationships of those in this house flourish organically without me – that is a sign.
When Jenny, who is not a dog person, is sweet on the pups – that is a sign.
It’s a sign when I find a corner of the couch where the light streams in from the bay window, the coffee is fresh, the words flow, and I am close to finding my comfort zone.
A New Kind of Faith
Maybe what I had before wasn’t faith at all. Maybe I don’t know what faith is. Or maybe faith is getting up every morning, making the coffee, unpacking the boxes, answering the questions, fixing the pot roast, and learning to trust. As I unpack the remaining boxes, I cling to the little signs that tell me I’m on the right path. I believe in those signs. Each day brings more signs than the day before. Each day gets me closer to a new kind of faith.
But, Oh! it’d be so much easier if I had that bird’s eye view.