I was walking today with my friend Bob. We just had lunch, sitting outside a diner on the first warm day of Spring.
I’ve known Bob for 48 years. Last year Bob’s wife Nancy passed away, seven years after her first diagnosis with breast cancer. Bob saw The Actual Dance this past week and we needed to talk.
Walking back from lunch toward Bob’s house we walked along the opposite side of the street than when we walked to lunch. It reminded me of how different scenes look to us when we drive in the opposite direction to return from a car trip as compared to what they looked like to us as when we were going.
It suddenly struck me that this is a metaphor for our lives.
Some might call it wisdom, others just old age. Yet it seems a fundamental truth that the “scenes” of our lives at some point change and are entirely different than they were before even though we are on the same road, just headed in the opposite direction.
When are we “there?” When do we start the trip back? What do we call that point?
It is a point in our lives when we understand in a fundamental way that we are returning home. Life is a single road. There are only two directions. In and out. Same “existential road.” It begins as a miracle and ends as one.
It just looks entirely different. We now have our experiences, our relationships our situation, whatever it has become. Now we are going back over that same route. Except we now know how precious each moment is; how miraculous each breath; how beautiful even the ugliest weed. Maybe we won’t ever see this or that again, nor marvel at how we can just ask Alexa how to spell “expialidocious!” And she does!
We don’t always know which direction we are headed. Yes, one can argue that we are always headed one direction. Life as only a journey from birth to death is a truism with no meaning.
I think coming is “becoming” – it is a discovery over time of our purpose and loving relationships. Up and down and around different corners, occasionally small dents and for some there are large crashes. Yet we are on our way – were coming – becoming what we will be in this world. Perhaps what we were "meant to be."
Then at some point we know we are going. There is the road back, and it will be over similar territory. It will just look and feel entirely different.
I wonder if we know when we are headed home or if that too is only discovered as we are about to get there?
Maybe true wisdom is knowing in which direction we are headed? Coming or going?