“If I’m reduced to bringing up the ‘what is it between us..? It’s been so long’ question, time after time, then I’d be a little worried. A man should know how to hold his own and keep a woman from guessing where she’s at with him, because he knows what he wants!”
A friend hurled at me a few years ago.
I agreed. I had too. It was all in the frayed lines that appeared across her forehead as she frowned, and the venom that proceeded from her spit glands as they backhanded the birthmark on my left cheek. Humbled.
But the truth is, I was lying—an oxymoron.
I often don’t know what I want. I didn’t know then, and to be honest, I don’t really know now. Just to set the record straight, I’m not talking about women! Still struggling to decide on that one, two years post marriage? You’d have every right to shoot me. In fact the missus would gladly assist; she’d probably tie my hands to something obscure like a pole or some other, just so I couldn’t escape. But enough of our bedroom antics for now, back to the article.
And so I ask, is it a crime to not know?
If all this new age, spiritual, philosophical ideologies are anything to go by, then the answer is probably very close to a yes.
We live in the age of the motivational quote; where elite clans of three-piece suited, overweight men moonwalk across disco-lit platforms, divinely endowed with the “secrets”. The secrets that’ll guarantee you wealth, good health, a pretty spouse and a mortgage. “You can have whatever you want,” they say. “All you’ve gotta to do is put your mind to it. Conceive it, believe it, envision it, it’s yours!”
That’s half of my problem—I’ve actually got to decide what I’m putting this mind to first!
And whilst these secret-hoarding saints do have a point; in my case, I have a mitigating circumstance. You see, having gorged at enough Chinese buffets over the decades to feed a deprived nation for an entire year, I’ve become somewhat spoilt for choice. Should I have the vegetable spring rolls for starters? Although, I’ve been fantasising a lot lately about the BBQ spare ribs—and the hoisin duck. How about I have ‘em all?
Growing up, the untold question that rang on off my old folks lips—“what do you want to do with your life?”
How about, “I don’t know? I’m only ten!” I often felt like replying. I didn’t; for fear of the cane, a broom, a hammer (I joke)—but you see, even they had variety.
And even when I have at times plucked up the courage to finally make a decision, my desired results haven’t always come to pass. So I’m somewhat embittered, beginning to find this whole motivational foray a tad delusional. I have my reasons. Ever since I watched Made in America, all I’ve ever wanted was to stroke—a stroke, two fingers, nothing more—the fabled short black crop that lay upon Nia Long’s head. Believe me, I fasted, I prayed, I envisioned the scene in mind daily and claimed it in His mighty name. I’ve bound and loosened the darn thing so many times; it in itself became very confused. It’s been years, Lord. Neither you nor Santa has provided.
Adolescence was tough, trying to grow from a boy into a so-called “man”. It’s as though as we increase in age, our options that appeared so untold back then begin to hurtle faster than the price of oil. If I haven’t done x by this age, or achieved such by now, there’s no way I can do y anymore, or so they say. And so with that comes the perils of “getting it all together” now, before it’s too late. I can only apologise for not quite having my life mapped out sooner. Forgive me. At age 10, I was too busy to care; discovering peculiar hairs on strange parts of my body, or engaged in a serious battle for a rival’s Pokémon card at the park.
I’ve since obtained a degree, begat a son, and my beard has fully grown to console the recent bereavement up top; but not much has changed—still clueless. So I may have exaggerated a little; I do have some idea, now. It’s only taken me thirty odd years, a shed load of setbacks, heartaches, trials and triumphs—a mosaic of brokenness. And as I sit at my desk patching the puzzle of my life back together, one piece at I time, I’m beginning to see a profound beauty in the mess. The story is slowly starting to make sense; but only a glimpse (if that) of my purpose is starting to show forth.
I don’t know what the eventual outcome will be, but if I’m totally honest with you, I don’t really care. All I know is that the Creator has a way of making everything beautiful in its time. And whilst I don’t condone laziness, there is a distinct peace that is born out of living in the bliss of the present moment. That’s all we have.
Though, more often than not, I falter. Like, come quarter end, at the sight of a tax bill from Her Majesty, or my daily dismays at the soaring house prices in London, wondering if I’ll ever get a foot on the ladder if I don’t act now!
A wise rabbi once said, “let tomorrow fend for itself”. So I’m slowly learning to cling to His principle, alleviating the pressure of having to always have it right today, first time, the need to know it all. Giving myself permission to make mistakes if so be it—allowing the script to somewhat take its course.
I guess that’s what “walking by faith and not by sight” is all about; taking one step at a time, not entirely caught up on the specifics of a particular outcome, but a subconscious, invisible knowing from within; that says, as long as I continue walking, even if I start to sink, I’ll surely have another chance to get back up one day and go at it again. And when its all said and done and they place me six feet deep; someway, somehow, I’ll have a fairly pretty, though somewhat abstract portrait placed in a chic gallery of some sort, to show for it!