“The road is long, with many a winding turn, that leads us to who knows where, who knows when.” ~Bobby Scott and Bob Russell (songwriters) of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, performed by The Hollies, 1969.
Paradoxically, life is both a fuzzy blip and a tortuous pilgrimage. Adding to the confusion of that reality is both the human mind-and-heart-space—a strength, but also a weakness—and the spinning phenomenon of life; an ever-dynamic circumstance that conditions us to chance.
Being alive is an unpredictable experience. The good and bad, both, come and go intermittently. Even the seasons of life—those periods of months or continuous years—tend easy or hard or in-between.
Enduring the Mixed Fortunes of Life
Because the road is long, and we tire easily and occasionally get frustrated, fatigued or complacent, there is great risk that at some point(s) we’ll make key life decisions that we’ll come to regret. We need to respond in positive ways to these circumstances, not getting down on ourselves for deals that are done and dusted.
Likewise, we’ll make some good choices and enjoy significant fortune—noting these as we count back the joys. But as we know, pride is the great precipitator of falls from grace. We can become our own worst enemy oh so easily. Anyway, good times make way for times not-so-good, and vice versa.
Most of life, however, is neither significant in fortune or misfortune, but indifferent so far as categorical assessment is concerned. Nowhere lands of circumstance have views of no clear destination, nor scope for time or direction. The difficulty is lack of difficulty—the soul contending in somewhat of a vacuum. This middle ground of life should find us comfortable, though we are strangely uncomfortable and poise is required so we don’t panic for nothing.
Broadening Our Perspective
Irrespective of the circumstances that prevail in our lives, as they ebb and flow, we best maintain a broadened perspective. I always picture as an image of wisdom a 75-year-old woman who’s experienced more than enough of life to understand, and institute, this type of longer viewed outlook. She is ‘wide’ to life; a sure mentor to those younger players struggling to find balance.
The broadened perspective caters for the vast continuum of human experience from failure to success, despair to joy, and emptiness to fulfilment—and all between.
It couldn’t be a better default approach, as we leave home base on our daily conquests, to expect one of a range of different possible outcomes as reward (or punishment) for the input of the day. Best we not be surprised by any result as it could have been predicted, later on, by hindsight.
Enduring the long road is wisdom; humbly confident in fortune, buoyantly resilient in misfortune, and able to patiently wait out the many banal moments in between.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.