Thursday, February 4, 2016

Less Traveled

Today I pondered over the question what do I really want out of this life.1 In my mind I could have answered the question two ways, but instead of quickly answering with peace, love, happiness, stuff, I forced myself to really assess what it is I want out of life. This life. Today. Because, see, I'm stuck, probably like a lot of people, in the I wish and One Day categories. I wish I was less distracted and more outgoing. I wish my sister lived closer. I wish my kids would listen. I wish I had horses. I wish...and one day I will deal with my anxiety and finally be happy. One day I will have less heartache. One day my kids will get it. One day I will be truly filled with joy. One day...

One day I will stop being stuck.

When I truly consider the things that I think I want out of this life, my list is shorter than I realize. It's simple, really. Peace. Joy. Less fear. Less heartache. To enjoy life. To live life to the fullest. And yet I find myself not able to attain those things, truly, because I hold back. I question. I wonder why. I let myself get distracted by the antidotes the world has to offer. My heart aches over the frustration of never being quite filled enough, never being quite content enough, always reaching yet never quite close enough to grasp. So I settle. I settle for good because I'm scared of what could be great. Can Great be trusted? Will Great follow through? Will Great really fulfill what my heart is searching for? Is contentment an idea or a reality?

Somewhere along the way we as a group must have decided that settling for the antidotes was better than truly searching for contentment, and we hold on tight to those things we know don't work and probably never will but we desperately wish would.

Don't you open up that window
Don't you let out that antidote...
I just want dinero...
{travis scott}

So what would it take to never be jealous or discontent again?2 I'm sure a list could be made, and it would look different for everyone. Friends. Love. Relief from addiction, anxiety, depression, anger, hopelessness, pain, loneliness, grief. More stuff. Nicer stuff. Beauty. Weight loss. Respect. Health. Those things that represent Contentment. Those things that are within sight but mostly out of reach. Those things that distract and dissolve into smoke and mirrors. Those things. How do you conquer a list that is constantly shifting underneath your feet?

I'll probably never, ever be content. Really. Even if I had it all. Truth. I have a beautiful life and while I have a want list, I also know that the happy it brings is fleeting. Even if I had All The Things (and I'm talking about non-material things, too, like friends, peace, wisdom, discernment), that yawning hole of discontentment would only temporarily be filled.

Life offers many paths. It's not a simple as Robert Frost makes it sound. A fork in the road with only two options would be a blessing to some people. But when all the options you think you have are exhausted and none of them have worked, the road less traveled is typically where one finds herself standing. While other grounds shift, this One remains steady and true.

Fear and distrust are merely choices, not permanent sentences. And we have been given the freedom to choose.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
{robert frost}

1,2 Questions taken from stuck by Jennie Allen

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