I was reminded of that old proverb tonight. If wishes were horses, beggars would be riders. That’s how it often feels for me in life. Fortunately these bouts of wishing for what never was usually subsides within minutes, and rarely does it ever extend into hours or days. But that I wish or yearn for beginnings that were not intended for my life is something I can’t deny. Most of all, I often find myself wishing that I had sources of wisdom to draw on as I progressed through my years and my life experiences.
Becoming an adult in a harsh world is difficult enough without such guidance. Finding your way amidst the jeers and ridicule of many while maintaining a single-minded focus on what you aspire to be is enough to try the tenacity of an angel. But I’m no angel, and fortunately the realisation of that struggle only hit me much later in life, well beyond that exhausting stage which made it somewhat more bearable. Perhaps that is the blessing of being oblivious at times.
However, such struggles are never to be presented in single item purchases. They always seem to come in bulk purchases. Reflecting on those early years seems almost as if I had an idyllic existence at the time if I were to compare it to what was to follow. Painful lessons were learnt in my efforts to become a husband, and later a father. I’ve often felt twinges of remorse and guilt at the thought of the pain unleashed on others during those years of growth, but my saving grace is the knowledge that whatever I did, I did sincerely and out of genuine conviction for what I believed to be the right thing to do at the time. That’s all we can expect from anyone, isn’t it?
Behaving maliciously is a sign of an infinitely more troubled soul than mine and I shudder at the thought, so as long as I don’t stoop to such levels, I guess I can take comfort in the fact that I am not truly jaded or bitter yet. The cynicism though, is open for debate. The wisdom accumulated through years of unaided struggles can easily be wasted if we’re quick to assume that we were being punished, rather than being educated. Without such trials, mediocrity and fragility would have taken me in a sweeping motion to a place that would have seen me dependent and needy of support structures reserved for the frail of heart, and timid of mind. Yet from a young age the innate resilience of my spirit kept me going. It has always been a sense of resilience that I could never take credit for. I did not sow it, nor did I nurture it. In fact, it nurtured me.
And now, after all these experiences that have shaped me into who I am today, I still feel lacking. I wonder if the weight of being independently resilient with nothing more than faith to rely on will eventually wear away at my resolve and render me brittle and fragile at a time when the weight of this life just becomes overwhelmingly burdensome. Faith must remain my companion if I hope to survive this ordeal of life with any measure of dignity that may remain. My greatest fear is that at some point I may be faced with the harsh reality that perhaps I got it wrong all these years. Perhaps after all my resolve, my self-proclaimed philosophies of life, and death, and my supposedly informed perspectives of what makes us human, and what gives life purpose, perhaps at some point I will be disemboweled by the truth of what was, and the realisation of how far off the mark I was. And suddenly, the reality of death and the purpose of life will seem like a story very different to the one I just lived, with barely a breath left in me to try again.