When I landed in the Great Unknown, all my mail from the Land Where I Came From was automatically forwarded.
Sometimes I forget that not everyone who sends me messages knows my new address. So I’m caught off guard when I get a random postcard from those who are still comfortably planted in another land with questions like, “Where have you been?” or “What’s new?”
I feel frazzled, tongue-tied. All of the turmoil that is delicately residing just beneath the surface of my soul starts to churn—and it takes awhile for things to settle again.
Even after all of this writing and staking claim to my reality, I still want to pretend—for my sake, not theirs—that nothing has changed. I want to casually reply: “Not much going on with me. How ‘bout you?”
Since I can’t answer honestly with those words, I try to figure out a way for that response to be true.
This is when I wonder if I’m related to the Grimm brothers because I start concocting this fantastic fairy tale about how my time here will come to an abrupt halt because of a great rescue that ends my troubles forever. I can spend hours (or days, if I’m not careful) fantasizing about all the details leading up to a variety of happy endings—each more unlikely than the first.
When I give in to the urge and live in fantasy-land for too long I feel exhausted. And I inevitably get interrupted by the truth-teller in me.
“You really want to get out of here like that?” she asks me squarely. “And what do you think life will be like if you do get OUT? Do you remember why you left your other land? Do you remember why you came here?”
Yes. I remember.
I guess my active imagination was just a variation of an adult tantrum. And I end up right where I started: I’m still here.
A fellow traveler, someone who came here years before me, has repeatedly asked me an equally challenging question in the midst of my tantrums: “Why are you wasting all that beautiful energy trying to change something that you can’t?”
I don’t have an answer. All I can do is file my behavior in the mental folder labeled “Do not repeat.” (Sadly, it’s a well-worn file that I am very familiar with. I often find myself rummaging through its contents with feigned ignorance as I mumble, “What was that thing I wasn’t going to do again?”)
I can also make a decision to use all of that “beautiful energy” for a different purpose. I can use it to propel me forward.