Photo by Robert Saulnier
"Life is an adventure of our own design, intersected by fate in a series of lucky and unlucky accidents.”
-spoken word from Patti Smith’s "Dream of Life" film.
Bumpity bump, bump, bump. Sometimes what looks like a roadblock turns out to be a life saver. That’s a lesson I’ve learned repeatedly over the years. The trick, I guess, is to stay focused on the big picture, and keep moving, without getting too attached to a particular route or timeline.
Easier said than done. Like anyone, I can get frustrated or frightened when the ride gets rocky. Some months bring bodily aches and pains; others bring big, fat financial strains. Then there are those break-ups and break-downs, accidents big and small, betrayals and disappointments ten-feet-tall. But throughout it all, Life keeps inching along, winking through the cracks of my resistance, reminding me that beauty and blessings can wear some pretty strange masks. “Look again,” Life whispers.
Admittedly, the ride has been particularly bumpy for a while due to a long string of construction projects in our apartment building and on our street. Jackhammers and drills: definitely not my favourite soundtrack. Is it a convenient or comfortable time to move? Not at all. But, as I’ve learned, that’s not a good reason to stay.
Some years back, I very reluctantly left a beloved home for similar reasons. At the time, I couldn’t understand why I was being so aggressively pushed out by endless construction. But, when I ran into a neighbour from that street later on, I found out there had been a huge fire in the building after I left - which is when I realized: the disruption that displaced me might have actually saved me. “Listen closer,” Life whispers.
This time, I hear you, Life. Loud and clear. I’m not where I’m meant to be. So, yes, we’re packing it up and pushing on. But, in the meantime, last Sunday, my sweetheart and I stepped away from our mess of work and boxes to enjoy a few hours of blessed goofy fun. As the above photo attests, this mini mental holiday helped me to reconnect with the big picture and remember some of the things that make my heart soar.
Yes, I still have some songs left in me. One of them is called "Detour." When will I record it? Don’t know yet. I’m not ready to worry about the how and when. What I do know is that I love to create and sing, and to connect with others through the ritual of concert. In other words, I’m looking forward to settling into our new home so we can get on with the show.
This is a promise that gets me out of bed in the morning and continues to pull my hand across the pages of my journal - even on the bumpiest days. It’s a big part of my big picture, and it feels good to be reminded, detours and all.