Today's been a weird day... a very weird day indeed. Actually lately I have been having quite a few of these weird days - come to think of it, when juxtaposed with those other weird days, this one almost seems half-normal! :)
It's one of those days when so much could go wrong, but it doesn't. You walk right up to the precipice and almost tumble over, but don't. When what freaks you out is not what happened, but what almost did. It's a strange fear, couched amidst a thrill which is stranger still. You know what I am talking about right? I mean, we've all had this feeling at one time or the other... maybe you've never actually thought about it in such psychotic terms, but I promise you that you've felt it too! :) It's that adrenaline-rush that you get when you take a bungee jump, or sky dive... or simply sit in a roller-coaster. The thrill isn't really in what you just went through, but what could have been!
But I digress...
So as I sat in the subway car, I was thinking about all the events of the past couple of months - I caught myself going down the "Why me?" path! And even though such a perfectly crappy "self-pity" session is considered de rigueur in a situation like this, I just could not see myself doing it and holding on to any real sense of self-respect... it's just such a helpless feeling... makes me feel powerless - like, my life is "happening" to me, and try as hard as I may, there's nothing that I can do to change its course! Bah!
As I pulled myself back to my senses, it suddenly hit me - that fear... of what could have been. I had been about to take some really big steps in my life... set a chain of events into motion which would have consumed my existence irrevocably like a runaway reaction! Had this 'great misfortune' not 'befallen' me, my life would have been on such a different path right now... in such non-ideal conditions! Somehow those unwelcome events had pulled me back from the brink of doing something that I probably shouldn't even have been considering in the first place.
Now while there are several positives to this tale, none of them seemed to matter as I watched the train pull into the station - at that second, there was just this fear-induced thrill at how close a shave this one had been! I could feel my cheeks go red (now I grant you the fact that it doesn't take much to make me blush like a cherub, but still, this should count for something! Hehe), and my knees wobble a little bit... I think I picked the best possible word to describe the feeling - weird... just weird!
Then the objective jerk in me kicked into high gear! One of my closely-held principles in life is "It's all for the best"! Ideally this would have been a nice affirming tale that cemented that belief all over again - but there I was thinking, "Was it really such a good thing? Or was I just looking at it through nice, rosy-colored glasses and seeing what I needed to see?". And though that might be the case, frankly, at this point, I just don't care... In life, me thinks, things are rarely one way or the other - they are what we make of them... and in this case, I choose to make this perfectly unpleasant experience a principle-affirming tale! :)
Having said that, my mind jumped to this fable I had read long ago... and which I will now synopsize here - there was once this king who decided that he wanted to build the greatest repository of all human knowledge that ever existed. So he commissioned scholars from far and wide, and they returned after 5 years with several huge volumes of what would be the modern day equivalent of the Encyclopædia Britannica! The king, in a display of what would, a few centuries later, be called the "fast food mindset", throws up his hands in despair and says, "That's too big... shorten it!". So the poor scholars go back to the drawing board and return 3 years later with a single, huge, hardbound volume - the king's reaction however remains unchanged... It's still not Reader's Digest enough for him! Hehe. So off go the scholars again, and they return after a year with a single page... with a single line on it. So the king asks them, "Is this it? Have you managed to jot down the crux of all human knowledge onto this piece of paper?". The scholars nod... sagely. The king looks at the piece of paper, and reads the line aloud for all his courtiers to hear... it says, "This too shall pass"!
While prima facie that might appear too naive, I don't think it's too far from the truth... and frankly, as human beings going through day-after-interminable-day of seemingly frustrating events, it seems like the only idea that really matters! If only every time someone hurt us, a professional roll of the die didn't go our way, and the lightening bolts just kept zinging us with amazing accuracy like they were somehow seeking us out, we could remind ourselves that "this too shall pass"!? Hurdles that until now appeared unsurmountable... problems which looked too big to solve... burdens which felt too heavy to shoulder... wouldn't they all just seem a wee little bit more manageable?! Now if only I can manage to remind myself of that fact the next time my neighbor's dog pees on our doormat! :P