“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
I read those words yesterday and they hit home, they hit home pretty hard.
I enjoyed lunch yesterday with a good friend (thanks Emma) and we were talking about the ‘when/then’ game. When the kids have left home then it would be better. When I’ve moved house then I can relax. When/then.
Claire and I used to joke that we would write a book called “It’ll be better when…” and then make jokes about all of the times that we had used that expression or heard other people use it, perhaps that’s a project of the future, but thinking about it now really does make me stop and consider things.
What has opened up for me now is a completely new chapter in my life, I thought I knew where the story was going until I turned the page on 17 April and the great author in the sky decided to take the story in a different direction. I can see now that those early chapters were leading me in a direction and I had made up my own ending, I was pinning all of my hopes on chapters I was yet to read, life was going to begin in those chapters.
But as I sit here writing this down I can see the entire book, it’s closed so I’ve no idea where the story goes, but I can see that this IS my life. It doesn’t begin over the page, it began at the beginning of the book and I’m in it now, this is it, these obstacles ARE my life.
There is a lot to be said for writing the end of the book ourselves and creating our future as we go, and there is also a lot to be said for reading the words of the page that we are on, reading them slowly, reading them with meaning and most of all enjoying them.
I’ve no idea what is over the page, at the moment I have no idea what the next paragraph says, but I do know that for the time being at least, I’m going to read those words very slowly.