Tag Archives: Mystery

It’s Only a Hundred Years

“I’m 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I’m just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are”

I’ve come to realize that life can be divided into quarters, each (hopefully) lasting 25 years.  Every quarter has its own unique challenges, and opportunities.  Some things we care deeply about in one quarter don’t matter as much in the next.  Each quarter carries mystery, and revelation.

“I’m 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I’m a ‘they’
A kid on the way, babe.
A family on my mind”

Experience reveals the nature of our mysteries.  A total mystery in one quarter often becomes a given in the next.  I have a good friend who likes to say, “I’m gonna be one smart mutha, just before I die.”  I suppose that’s the irony of life.  Just as you’re totally prepared to live it, it’s over.

“I’m 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I’m heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life”

It may be a revelation to some that we are never totally prepared.  We never know everything (and don’t remember it even if we do).  We rarely understand all that is happening around us.  The life we build is rarely planned, and only takes shape in retrospect.

“Half time goes by
Suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We’re moving on…”

This doesn’t mean that we throw all caution to the wind, ignoring what others have learned, bouncing from one experience to another.  Life carries a ton of mysteries, but we can (and should) learn from those who have gone before us.  Those who faced similar mysteries, similar challenges.

“15 there’s still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you’re on your way
Everyday’s a new day…”

Each of us has something to share with our fellow travelers.  We can shed light on their mystery.  Show a way.  Lead by example.  Reveal truths that we can clearly see.

“I’m 99 for a moment
And dying for just another moment
And I’m just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are”

In the process, we reveal new truths for ourselves, see with new eyes, and listen with new attention.  That’s the journey.  Enjoy every minute of it.

“When you only got a hundred years to live.”  -John Ondrasik, Five for Fighting

 

 

The Mystery of the Dots

MysterySeashell

I recently participated in my first Church retreat.  It opened with an exercise where each participant drew a seashell out of a pile of seashells.  Written inside each shell was one word.  The facilitator then asked each of us to say how this one word connects with our lives.

My word was Mystery.

As I sat pondering the word, I couldn’t help thinking about all the dots in my life that have connected to bring me here.

Connect-the-dot puzzles are a great way to teach kids how to count, and see that there can be order in the apparent chaos of a bunch of dots on a page.

Our lives can seem like a collection of random experiences, decisions, non-decisions, near-misses, lucky chances, chance encounters, crazy ideas, mundane thoughts, risky ventures, explorations, challenges, victories, losses, successes, failures, limitations, beliefs, non-beliefs, triumphs, heartbreaks, new directions, people, places and things.

These are our dots.

We create some of the dots, but most of them are already there, waiting for us to connect.

Which dot comes next?  Do we choose, or is it chosen for us?  Is there a pattern, or at least some path, in all these dots?  I like to think we have something to do with deciding which dot comes next, but certainly not everything.

Nearly every major turning point in my life (good and bad, but mostly good) was unplanned.  Sure, I may have been prepared to capitalize, but the actual “dot” came out of nowhere, often by chance.

To paraphrase a quote from The Way (a movie I highly recommend, by the way), “You don’t choose a life, you live it.”  We all make plans, and try to map out where we’re headed.  The truth is, we don’t have as much control over things as we’d like to think.

Letting go of the illusion of control is a big step toward happiness.

The happiest people I know live their lives as a verb, rather than something to be controlled, or pondered in the past tense.  They are always seeking, always learning, always renewing.  They usually spend a lot of time serving others.  They don’t know which dot comes next, but they’re open to the possibilities.

I can see some big dots in my future, but I know there are a bunch I don’t see.  That’s the great mystery that makes life so awesome.