Updated on April 14, 2016
I’ve been losing my footing a lot lately.
After an interesting morning spent searching for the mighty Himalayas through the heavy fog and trying to figure out the song my heart wanted to sing, I embarked down a “hill” (Nepalese for mountain) with Sarah, my companion for the trip and a fellow sojourner, to the muddied lake below.
Rainy season in Nepal translates into earth that is continuously damp and muddy. As I tried to hike down the hill, I encountered slick rocks that caused me to lose my footing. I felt like a child first learning to walk – legs wobbling, ankles turning in – barely catching myself before I stumbled once again. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep going or simply plop down and give up.
You see, my problem was not simply physical…it was mental…it was spiritual. I was not centered. In fact, I have not really been “centered” for the majority of the entire long, balmy, summer. I have wavered between feeling stressed about my lack of direction, to feeling stressed about having too much of my life planned, to feeling like scrapping every plan and starting with an entirely new slate! Today, I vacillate between feeling like I’ve entered the
“winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York,” and feeling I’ve simply entered the “winter of our discontent” full stop (Richard III 1.1.1-2).
A nomad at heart, I know that I must continue to walk, to travel, for my survival…whether the “traveling” is to various countries, merely through my endless thoughts, or to somewhere entirely unpredictable. However, recently, I’ve taken off my Birkenstocks and I’ve stopped walking. I’ve given up and, and as with all nomads who stop walking, I’ve met with death.
…looks like complacency cloaked in “contentment”
…looks like setting goals, only to quickly break them
…looks like anxiety and depression
…looks like fear and frustration
…looks like apathy and hopelessness
Death looks like lies lived as if this were the end of the story…
…But these lies – they are not the end of the story. Nor will they ever be. As much as the all-too-familiar beckoning hand of death appears as a lifeline to grab as I feel myself falling, I will no longer give in to the temptation to reach for it. Because death breeds death, and as much as I doubt myself, I know that my journey is far from finished. I know that despite feeling like the ground is shaking beneath my feet as it did on my return trip to Nepal, I must keep walking.
I must keep walking, not only for myself, but for others.
I must keep walking because I refuse to live in a world where death wins.
I have seen loved ones accept this death out of desperation…loved ones who deny their worth and value and instead adopt numbness, believing it to be less painful than actually experiencing the highs and lows of life. It is so painful to watch this acceptance of defeat when I see something in them that they do not see in themselves.
I see power. I see strength. I see love. I sense something so beautiful that it is utterly incomprehensible for the human mind to fully grasp… I sense the promise of tiny miracles just waiting for the chance to spring to life.
No…the story cannot end here. I have come to the realization that I don’t need to have everything figured out right now. In fact, perhaps I can be content even if I don’t ever have things completely figured out. It occurs to me that perhaps I should put those birkenstocks back on because maybe, just maybe, someone else will see that same power…that same strength…that same love in me that I have seen in others.
So don’t admit defeat.
Don’t give in to death.