I straddle a line between wishing I could slap Emily Dickinson in the face and wanting to make her my best friend forever.
The thing about Em (Can I call her Em? I will call her Em) is that the majority of her works, the ones that make her the Angelina Jolie of Literature, were not discovered until after her death. So what’s the main debacle with the majority of your poetry meeting publication after you are six feet under? You are not around to explain it.
Em is a literature lover’s dream. We could tackle hours and ages’ worth of ambiguity in her punctuation and the intention behind her words. We could wrack our brains over who she addressed her poetry to and what she really was trying to say. But I used to fight the urge to stand atop my desk in lit classes to state, “Maybe Em was not all that misunderstood. Maybe she just wanted to produce beautiful poems.” Oh goodness. What would happen if we stopped dissecting them for a moment and took them for what they really are? Radiant Imperfect Pieces of Perfection.
I am known to go at life with a magnifying glass. Often my friends and family remind me that I should stop to be in wonder of this world instead of always trying so hard to understand every little thing. Every nook and cranny of each person I encounter, place that I visit, and experiences that I stumble upon.
Life Lesson #__Insert grandeur number here__: This world is too big. The number of people and their purposes are far too wide. We will never have it all figured out. Ever. No matter how hard we try.
Sometimes we need to throw out the books that remind us to not sweat the small stuff or the ones that teach us how to lead a more fulfilling life. Instead of “learning” how to live we might just want to try living sometimes.
I think about dying a lot. Not in a morbid sense, really, I swear. I think it’s smart to muddle over the topic from time to time. We are all going to die eventually. But that is not the point of this post either. I wonder about my bedside and the people whom I would want to surround me in my final hours. And bring me flowers. And kiss my forehead and hold my hand. And I realize that it is just that: People That I Want.
We have become so wrapped up in this notion that everything and everyone comes walking into our lives with a reason trailing behind them and lesson to teach us in their arms. Don’t misunderstand my message, I think all of this is very true. However, where is the balance? When does someone stop being a person we need to learn from and just start being a person we want to learn with?
I once had someone ask me not to turn him into a life lesson. A strange request. At first I didn’t understand. And I also wondered why he would ask that, seeing as I practically survive on life lessons. If they were food I would be morbidly obese. Trust me.
People don’t want to be life lessons in our books as much as they simply want to be in our books. To Play a Part. To Have a Role. To have made a difference with their presence, a difference that made us always want them to be there. Even if we knew it was not possible.
You see, life lessons are good. But People are Better. I would much rather lay down with someone under the night sky and its blanket of stars and together we could get great practice in wondering about this lifetime. In Trying to Wrap Our Heads Around Our Place In This World. I would much rather do that than to watch someone slip out of my life because I turned them into a lesson instead of a friend. Because I held too tightly to the things that they taught me instead of remembering to reach for their hand.
We should probably all surrender. Hold up our white flags and turn in our magnifying glasses. Admit that we don’t have all together all the time. That we cannot explain every aspect of our lives. The more I think about doing this, the more I realize that the walls would not come tumbling down and the earth would not meet an apocalypse with this declaration. The world actually might look wonderful with less mysteries for me to solve. And more mysteries for me to marvel at.
I don’t even believe I would want to figure everything out. What would be the point? Who wants a life that they understand so well that they can tuck it into their back pocket? I have yet to meet the individual who wants the life so little that they see and understand every bit of it.
I would rather stay convinced that we are all just walking around. Hungry. Thirsty. Confused. Content. Wondering. Wandering. But then we Bump. Bump. Bump. Extraordinary Bumps Into One Another. And we hold tight to hands and find companions in this world. Soul Mates. People we declare to be partners to us instead of just a passing lesson, a speed bump along the way, on our journey to the bigger picture.
So share with me a mystery of your lifetime, something you cannot comprehend but you love it just the same. But then stick around for a little while. I want to believe this life makes more sense with people sitting by our sides.