Winter is tough. The lack of sunshine leaves a longing in your heart (even though we’ve got it better than most here in CO). The cold makes you want to stay curled up inside (especially if you’re not a traffic fighting ski buff since tearing your ACL in 2012). Less movement leads to stiff bodies. Our genetic makeup urges us to hold on to some “winter insulation” and comfort food is all too accessible. Add it all up and an existential crisis could be one gray day away.
Lately I’ve found myself wondering, “What’s it all for?”. I know more than a few people going through the same meh right now, so I thought I’d post some questions here in the hopes of helping people feel less isolated… and maybe even gain some outside perspective from some philosophically provocative comments:) So here goes nothin’ - firing squad style:
Why are we here? Is there a Supreme Creator somewhere out there who conceived each and every one of us? If so, does this Creator have a plan for every one of us? If yes, how do we find said plan? Pray for it? Seems too simple. And we’ve all heard the cult stories that started with God talking to someone and ended in a lot of God’s followers dying. Granted, that’s the extreme end of the spectrum, but I use it to illustrate the fact that we may never know what this Creator is trying to tell us.
If there’s no plan (or way of knowing it) and we’re free to choose - is this Supreme Creator merely a scientist who’s rubbing His or Her hands together as S/He hunches over this large petri dish we call Earth, watching the mayhem? If we’re an experiment, is the goal to see if we can manage not to exterminate our species? Seems dark, and a bit too simple... really though, depending on the day, it seems we’re better at killing than we should be:(
And now that we’ve mentioned Earth - with the Universe being soooo vast, why does anything we do even matter? We are but a speck of dust on a grain of sand on a never-ending beach. Why do we stress about how many Likes we get?!? Or what the scale said this morning?! (For the record, I don’t weigh myself - I think scales are evil;) but I have friends that obsess about it!) Why do we care?? Because we have to? Because the thought of everything being meaningless is too much for our egos to accept? The vacuousness would consume us. Best not to think on that too long, eh?
So, if our measly existence means something - what does it mean? Bringing me back to my original question: what’s it all for? Maybe we do have a purpose. Maybe it’s different for every person. One way or another, the only purpose grand enough to justify existence is really to make the world a better place. We could argue about how one does that, (politicians have done that for centuries) but at some point this will become a thesis instead of a blog and you probably don’t have that kind of time - so let’s skip to the end and say: with love. Loving someone, whether it’s a friend, a brother, a stranger (keep it clean - we’re talking serious stuff here;) a pet - makes the world a better place. I don’t know anyone that would dispute that, but that still doesn’t justify our existence.
If we’re just here to learn to love, why do people suffer long after they’ve achieved the goal? My mother-in-law was an extremely loving person, yet the last year and a half of her life was spent in a hospital bed, suffering. She prayed every day. Doesn’t seem like a nice plan from a Supreme Creator. I know some folks will say, “You’ll just have to ask Him when you get up there. Have faith.” But I want to know in what and why? (Which I know would not be "faith", but I can't have faith in something or someone cruel. It's just not where I'm at right now.)
Maybe there's a prize in the end if we succeed? Is there a Heaven? Is there a Hell? Some say we can create either on Earth. I’ve definitely been privy to moments that might qualify... for both ends. But surely we shouldn’t be working for a prize?! Life isn’t a contest, is it? It’s supposed to be about the journey, right? At least that’s what commercials tell me - and if you can’t believe an ad man…;)
So what if there is no prize? Just the here and now. Love makes it more pleasant - I get that - but why was I awarded this opportunity? Anyone can do that. And how do I best show love to my fellow man? With the rat race becoming intolerable, we’ve nearly forgotten common courtesy - yet alone a true act of selfless love. We’ve gotten our priorities so out of whack we can’t see the target anymore. It’s terrifying! The next (and last - Hooray!) question becomes: assuming a target exists, how do we keep our eyes on it? My friends, we’ll delve into that next time… but if life's a dance, right now I'm flailing around.
See you on the hardwood (where, thankfully, there are a lot less questions;)
and it was only 9:30am. I’ll spare you the details and just say - nothing was really going my way. I was driving home, channeling my inner Yosemite Sam, “Raz-a-fraz-a-ricka-fracka”, when I turned onto our road and saw my husband shoveling snow. An immediate calm spread over my body. A warm fuzzy, you might call it. There he was, shoveling the neighbor’s sidewalk (yes, he’s that nice) and he made my day.
I enjoyed the change of mood so much, I rolled my window down and stopped in the middle of our quiet street to revel in it a bit longer. He greeted me with his usual, “Hi, Gorgeous!” and I swooned a bit deeper into our moment of bliss. After some light banter, I pulled into the garage a different person than I had pulled out. I couldn’t help but be grateful for this man. Then I wondered if I had ever impacted someone like that. Had my mere presence softened their edge? The answer came all too quickly: Nope!
Before slipping down the rabbit hole of why I am how I am, I realized the reason I instantly relax when he’s around is because he loves me. Truly loves me - faults and all. And we all want to be loved - in life and on the dance floor. We’re not perfect partners. We’re not perfect dancers. We’re not perfect people. But we can be loved. We can be welcomed with open arms. And what that does for us - hell, what it could do for the world - is remarkable.
If you’ve danced long enough, you’ve hopefully experienced a partner that always seems genuinely happy to dance with you. You may not get to dance with him/her often, but you sure enjoy those dances. The pressure of expectation evaporates. Mistakes are merely laughed away. The two of you just have fun. Don’t you love that person? I sure do.
So I’m going to try to be that person for someone. I want to perfectly love someone imperfect today. Whether it’s on the dance floor or in the grocery store. Wish me luck. And thank you, Ty Johnson, for being my inspiration. I love you.
Allison loves to write almost as much as she loves to dance, so no one had to twist her arm to get her to write about dancing!