Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Knots and loose ends...

Sometimes it's hard to tell when or what or why or wherefore. It is almost always hard to understand when or what or why or wherefore....

Life has been, well, complicated lately. Heck -- it's been complicated for going on four years now. The truth is, life just is complicated. For all of us, a lot of the time.

We like to think that "at some point in the future", things will get easier, smoother, more understandable, less complicated. That "After all.... Tomorrow is another day" as Scarlett O'Hara so famously put it:

Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is easier, smoother, more understandable, less complicated. But sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it gets harder, rougher, less understandable, more complicated. And sometimes it simply remains the same, flat-lined, no change. Neither easier nor harder.

Those times are usually the worst. Somehow, a seemingly unending landscape of nothing different is far more difficult to face than one that has hope -- or even despair -- at the end. Monotony is a killer; it strangles any thought of change. And you must believe in change to be able to have hope....

It might seem funny to say that remaining the same, flat-lined, monotony is so awful; that it's worse than things getting harder, rougher, less understandable, more complicated. Yet, at least for me, I can see hope still in challenge. I can see triumph in tribulations. I can see the mountains because of the valley I am in....

The Bible tells us:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation
worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope
maketh not ashamed; ...
From Romans 5:3-5
Granted, when you're in the midst of the valleys -- in the midst of the tribulations and woe and pain and hurt -- it's not exactly easy to look up and see the mountains, and certainly not easy to appreciate them. But they are there none-the-less.

It's why the unending landscape of nothing different is so much worse. For you end up with no valleys, and so no mountains. There is nothing to even try to force yourself to look up at; nothing to force yourself to appreciate after a while. It becomes ongoing, nonstop sameness.

You grasp at strings in the hope of pulling yourself out of the monotony of despair, only to find that the strings are tangled in a huge knot that seems impossible to undo. The "Gordian Knot" of life. It is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" as Winston Churchill put it about Russia back in 1939.

You find that you no longer know which string goes back to which problem; which problem is why you find yourself in this desolate landscape. So many things tied into one knot that because you can't tell which string is which any more, you have no idea why the end of one string makes you cry, because you don't even know what the beginning of that string is....

Nothing makes sense any more, nothing is logical, nothing is understandable. It is neither easier nor harder, smoother nor rougher, more understandable nor less understandable, less complicated nor more complicated. It just is. 

So you cry, or feel depressed, or wallow, and pick the best "excuse" among your strings as the reason, even if it may not have anything to do with it at all.... And this is because despair is better than monotony -- so having a reason to cry is better than staring blankly out a rain-streaked window at nothing.

It's why the knots and the loose ends are so awful. There's no end, no beginning, no Alpha, no Omega, no here, no there, nothing. It's just what seems like thousands of strings tied in thousands of knots, beginning with the one in your stomach.

Fortunately though, there is actually an end, though it never seems like it. [Much like driving through Kansas on I-70.] There is, eventually, a horizon. A horizon that can and will be reached. 

The truth is, Scarlett was right; as was Annie. The sun will come out tomorrow. But so was Henry Drummond in the brilliant play, Inherit the Wind, when he argues:
Then you interpret that the first day as recorded in the Book of Genesis could've been a day of indeterminate length.... It could've been 30 hours, could've been a week, could've been a month, could've been a year, could've been a hundred years, or it could've been 10 million years!!
So the knots, the loose ends, the desolate landscape will eventually come to an end. We don't know when it will happen or what will happen or why it will happen or wherefore it will happen (unfortunately), but it will happen.

And yes, it often takes figuring out one string from end to start, through the Gordian Knot of strings, problems, issues -- but just one is enough of a start.

And no, the end will not suddenly make life easier, smoother, more understandable, less complicated. But it will make it less hard, less rough, slightly more understandable, and slightly less complicated...

It will allow the sun to come out, so that you can face life -- and it's ups and downs, mountains and valleys -- with renewed energy. It will allow the sun to come out so you can see those mountains, see those valleys, and see that horizon right in front of you, beautifully highlighted by the fingers of golden light bathed in hues of brilliant colors...

So monotony and knots be damned, desolate landscape and nothingness be damned, I-70 in Kansas be damned. Grab a string and start pulling!

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