I have been thinking lately about how I’ve gotten to this point in my life: It has been the various twists and turns, the complete unexpected, hitting the bottom so fast I can’t explain it for days, out of the blue, out of my control experiences which have taught me the most and enabled me to grow.
Those are the experiences which have gotten me here, sitting on a twenty-dollar futon which I happened to find at a rummage sale. I love this futon. I would not have expected to find something so nice at the sale. But I did: I found this unexpected treasure in a basement filled with a whole lot of junk I had to search through before I found it. The search for the futon is what makes the futon so special, but also a worthwhile experience.
That silly futon sums up how I feel about my life right now: I’ve had to search through a whole lot of messes and junk piles over these last few years to realize what I needed to throw out and what treasures I needed to keep: Attitudes I needed to change; beliefs I needed to overcome or fully accept; lessons I had to learn about life, others, and myself. These are small bits of the junk pile or treasure chest (depending on your viewpoint) which I had to sort through. I still am sorting through the junk (or treasure) in many ways.
But as this basement of my mind becomes less cluttered, I feel the most at peace which I have felt since this whole mess of becoming an adult began. It is wonderful to feel like I have room in the midst of the mess and debris to breathe again, to move again, and to grow. I kept people, ideas, and self-concepts for far too long that needed to be fixed or simply thrown out.
But now that I have realize this, I don’t feel the need to change my past or what has been done. Instead, I know I can—and should—change the present and future. More importantly, I am now acutely aware of how far I’ve come since my biggest mistake; a mistake which I no longer a regret.
Since that mistake, there were times when I wasn’t sure if life was going to ever be better. I didn’t know how I could breathe the same way I did before. Now, I know I won’t breathe the way I did before. But I will breathe more deeply and with more strength. That breath will be a better breath free of pollution which was suffocating me as I allowed myself to stay in a vault. A vault I had to open myself.
I will still have my nightmare sometimes- I just did this week. I will still have my setbacks– I just did last night. But those nightmares are not my dreams and those setbacks are not my “always.” Those are the “in-betweens,” the “sometimes,” and the only stepping stones I have to build upon the lessons I’ve learned.
Getting to this place, on this futon, has not been easy. I know continuing will be no trip to a convenience store. But I have a faith in God that is so much clearer and stronger than before. I have a confidence in myself and understanding in what I deserve that will empower me. I won’t need to pick at scabs, breathe in dirty air, or ruminate on a cluttered mess. I have cleaned. I am cleaning. The opening of the cellar door has let in new light and fresh air.
Time is precious. Love is real. This moment is a blimp in the earth’s rotation. It is a speck in the labyrinth of human messes which have come before and will come after me. I’m not perfect. Life isn’t perfect. My futon isn’t perfect. But all these things are good if I choose to make room for the new, the better, and the real, imperfect life which is mine. The futon wasn’t always mine. This clarity wasn’t always mine. But hell, there’s always a time to clean, throw-out, renew, search, choose something new, and grow.
–Written by Sandy Heights