I thought I left off my last post on a rather hopeful note. Turns out people start worrying the minute you acknowledge the world is not a bed of roses, even though we all agreed on that point millennia ago.
I think it’s just facing the fact that life is just a precarious teeter on the edge of misery, that’s so nerve-wracking for people to hear. Most of the time we are thankfully and blissfully comforted by being blinded to this. Most of the time, we don’t have to think about this. And if you straight out say life is a vale of tears, you could very well be dealing with depression.
Or you could be a somewhat mentally normal (at this moment in time) person attempting to come to grips with the nature of reality.
Because I do believe this world is broken. I believe it’s miserable and full of evil and sorrow. I’ve always believed that, since I was a kid, so it’s not like anyone should be surprised I’m repeating this again. But of course it’s different to believe that in theory, and to see evidence of that reality up close.
You start to realize you only believed this philosophy of reality with your head. Otherwise you went on as if happy endings really did exist. As if bad stuff only happened to ‘other people.’ As if all obstacles that you might classify as misery would only turn out to plot points in the novel of your life – crises that you’d overcome to reach your resolution.
But life doesn’t resolve. So what do you do when there’s no point, only futility? Especially when you already thought you’d always believed in the futility of life anyway?
Yeah, experience and head knowledge are two very different things, even when they both lead to the same conclusion.
(If I were to keep this blog writing-focused, I’d point out here that your philosophy of reality is going to affect the basis of your work, so it’s worth it to tease out exactly what that philosophy is. Do you believe good always triumphs over evil – or, at least, that’s it’s a writers job to maintain that it does in order to comfort people? Then that’s going to bleed through onto your words.)
(You may also ask what brought me to muse on the nature of reality anyway, but most of the story is not mine to share. I’ll just mention death, vicious genetic diseases, and relationship disintegration have dogged the steps of me and those I love.)
Anyway, what’s the way to deal with reality, the way to cope? I can cope with utter terribleness because it’s an expected result in this reality, not a shocking one. I find hope in the fact that this world may be broken, but it was whole once, and will be again someday. (Yes, I mean a God who’s rescued us from this depravity.). I go on by putting one foot in front of the other.
That’s all we’re ever doing, is just taking the next step, the next step, the next step. Sometimes it feels like we’re floating, and the sun shines down, and our hearts feel like they’ll explode with the inability to contain the wonder of being alive. Other times it’s all were can do to move one limb, or we feel like we can’t at all. That’s ok.
Sadness is a natural reaction to badness. Grieving happens. Let it happen when it belongs.
And as for me right now? I’m walking. I’m not floating or dragging. Once foot keeps going in front of each other, and I feel moments of wonder and contentment tinged with the horror that other people in that moment AREN’T feeling this. But I don’t feel this is an abnormal reaction to what’s happened.
So life goes on, and we do too.