When does Life Begin?
I don’t remember much about my childhood, (my folks could have saved a lot of money on trips to Disney land, since I can't remember them. Good thing they have the pictures to prove it!
But I do remember growing up quickly. I was a “take it all on” kind of gal. Everyone always said, “Don’t grow up so fast”, urged me to act more my age, work less—play more, but it just wasn’t in my character. And I always remember thinking, if I could just reach this next milestone, then, then, life would really start.
“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 gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. As last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”- Fr. Alfred D’Souza
At 12 I couldn’t wait to be 16 and drive, maybe then I’d be an A-lister at school (never happened). At 16, I desperately wanted to be 18 and legally be an adult, (well I could pay taxes but had no sense of coordination). Once I reached 18, I just had to be 21, to buy booze of course. Finally, I hit 21, but then pressure really started to pile on to: graduate college, find an amazing job, fall in love, and have the perfect husband (weddings are a part of my daily work life and I’m always amazed how young people wed).
Then there are the standard rites of passage: being heartbroken by -- the one, family illness that brings on overnight stays in cold, grey hospital rooms, and on and on, like sands through the hour glass, these are the days of our lives, right?
And now, I’m 27, been through all the aforementioned and then some and have learned to use each obstacle as a teacher. I won’t entertain the thought that I’ve had an easy life. Listen, I’ve had a blessed life, but have admittedly worked hard and tried, really tried at life. If there was a Girl Scout for life program, I would have A LOT of patches.
Some of the obstacles that D’Souza speaks of, the ones that have had the most impact on me, cracked me open, scooped out all my insides and left me so raw that I could’ve do one of two things, 1) taken a lesson from Charlie Sheen and drugged myself into oblivion or 2) sit with the situations (as yucky as it felt and as many nights as I did the ugly cry) and analyze them and try to grow from them. I tried and continue to try my best to choose the latter.
Be thankful for the obstacles. They are there for a reason. Don’t be so eager to get to the next point that you miss all the beautiful, joyous, graceful moments that are going on today.
Originally published on 4-2-11