Life As A Matter Of Punctuated Equilibrium

I’m still cleaning out my past — spent a few hours this afternoon going through boxes after dance class and lunch with friends.

It’s amazing that in the presence of another person (in this case my sister), it’s harder to justify keeping things that have lain unused for decades, so I got rid of more than I might have done if I were alone.

In my misspent youth, I managed a fabric store for a national chain, and I still had boxes of fabric left over from that time. Those are the boxes we went through today. Luckily, a friend agreed to take the fabric off my hands, so now even more of my past is gone. It feels good. Things are a responsibility and that responsibility weighs heavily on me. It will be nice to journey into my unknown future feeling so much lighter.

Odd about that future. I’ve been assuming it will be wonderful since I’ve been paying karmic debts or dues or some such with all the epic traumas I’ve dealt with the past four and a half years, yet someone made a comment today that makes me wonder if perhaps I’m being uncharacteristically optimistic.

He said, “There’s a dramatic tension in your journey, Pat. I’m not sure if the universe will eventually smile on you, and I have this nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach, but we’re rooting for you to achieve a harmonic convergence. You may have a destiny as our guru and guide. You’re certainly paying a price for the upcoming payoff. Is it a bloody hammer of God or a bouquet?”

Eek.

Perhaps the courage to deal with traumas makes them possible. Perhaps ever-increasing traumas prepare the way for even greater traumas, and I am in for a “bloody hammer of God” sort of future. It seems impossible there could be more traumas waiting for me, but then, I couldn’t have imagined the soul-deep traumas I’ve had to deal with during the past few years, such as grieving the death of my life mate/soul mate, dealing with my dysfunctional brother, and taking care of my father during his final years. Nor could I have ever imagined my reaction to such traumas — the shocking and breath-stealing agony of my grief, the horrific journey taking my brother back to Colorado and the 1000 miles of tears afterward, the continued frustrations over my father’s struggle to maintain his parental authority while expecting me to baby him.

sunflowerI suppose it’s just as well we can’t envision our futures. It would probably be terrifying to know what was in store for us. Even knowing that blazing joy rather than epic sorrow is waiting would be terrifying because it would be so alien. And even if we weren’t terrified of awesome bliss, there would be the fear of it never happening or if it did occur, that we wouldn’t believe we deserved it.

Besides, the person who has to deal with that future is not the person of today. Life is a matter of punctuated equilibrium. Nothing happens, and then everything happens. We change little by little, and then something big happens, and we change a lot, though sometimes — maybe most times — we don’t feel the changes. But they are there. (I doubt the subjects of evolution feel the changes, either. Species go about their daily business until the equilibrium of their lives and ecosystems are punctuated by change, and then you find alterations in the fossil record showing what seems to be the truth.) It’s that changed person (as well as the changed species) who has deal with what will come.

Whatever happens in the future — a bloody hammer of God or bouquets — I had a good day today. No one can ask for more than that.

Can you tell I’m smiling as I write this?  It really was good day, but then, any day that includes dancing and friends is good.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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