Friday, April 26, 2013

The Critical Phase

My wife and I have a joke we tell each other: "This is the critical phase." Voiced in moments of stress or anticipation, it never makes us laugh, it's not that kind of joke, but it always make us smile, reminding us that we've been here before and we'll be here again.

I have a picture in my head, maybe we all do, of what life will be like once we're past the current critical phase. It's a picture in which all the home repairs are handled, my loved ones are contentedly thriving in their own endeavors, and money is not an issue. It seems like so little to ask, sometimes it seems like it's right around the corner, but when I look up I see yet again that this is the critical phase.

That's what it's all about, after all, getting up each morning and wrestling life into shape. And when things do start to feel a little settled, when we do start feeling masterful, in control, that's when we're most likely to do something really "stupid" like take a risk. You know, something like agreeing to chair a local non-profit's annual fundraising auction, or taking piano lessons, or hosting a dinner party, or starting a new school. And there we are again: "This is the critical phase." People are counting on us, we are counting on ourselves, there are obstacles to overcome, ledges to walk, the prospect of failure in the offing.

I try to learn the lesson this time, don't bite off more than I can chew, don't worry about falling, but then I remember that I'm going to be getting out of bed each morning and wrestle with life anyway, even if it's just household chores. It might as well be with new challenges, ones with a bit of risk attached, because that's the only way I'm ever going to learn anything new. And after all, that's why we're here.

From critical phase to critical phase we go, step over step, hanging on, moving forward, perhaps wishing it could be different, but knowing all the while that we wouldn't have it any other way.

This is the critical phase. 

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1 comment:

Meg said...

I read your blog so very often and tonight feel compelled to comment. My husband and I were just having a similar discussion and realizing that each step, no matter what phase we are in, is stepping in some direction. Some days it is the right one, others it is the wrong one. Either way, we're moving...with life. There is great beauty in that, really. Thanks for sharing, I respect you so very much for what you do.