In the past six days, 3 people I knew have died. In the 8 months prior, 9 other people I knew have died.
So there's that.
The world has lost twelve souls it should have kept around longer. I don't know why. I never do. I probably never will.
The common questions after "why?" in these situations are "What now?" or "What next?" I don't need death or tragedy to ask the latter. It's a staple of dialogue for me. It's beyond a common phrase uttered or thought in my head. When change occurs - whether death or new life, change of job, change of location - it's natural to wonder what's coming next. We plan ahead. We run scenarios. We forecast.
While that's a smart thing to do, none of that ever prepares us for the parts of life that happen outside our plans. So as much as we reign in visions for our future, we are often left pondering, as Stephen Francis of Model Stranger put it, "Where Do We Go From Here?" (<--- for the unaware, that's called a "plug"). I am asking that question now, in both my personal life and my professional life. I'm dealing with transition and change in both, and have more on the near horizon.
I've taken comfort lately in the fact that I'm not the first. I'm not first of anything. At all. I'm not the first person to experience what I'm experiencing in life right now, and furthermore, I'm not the only.
I'm not the first, nor the only person experiencing the triumphs and trials I'm experiencing right now.
I'm not the first, nor the only person to have known as much death and loss as I've known in my life.
I'm not the first, nor the only person to have such an ambiguous, confusing, & complicated personal life as I do.
I'm not the first, nor the only person to feel regularly under-appreciated.
I'm not the first, nor the only person to feel destined for greatness, yet so far from it right now.
So while I can't say I know the answer to "where" we go from here, I do think I know "how" we go there.
We go there together.
I've written a lot about unity, about finding common ground, about living life together instead of fractured all the time. There's a reason I'm focusing so much on it. There's a reason I believe so strongly in the idea of community these days. We don't get anywhere on our own. To quote the Beatles in a cliché way, "we get by with a little help from our friends." To quote Switchfoot in a cliché way, "we are one tonight."
Now, I hear my friend Rachel reading this post yelling "hypocrite!" out loud, because I suck at relying on others and trusting others to help me out, and we just had a dinner together where she dug and I dodged. I'm notoriously terrible at sharing my feelings or struggles.
But, I'm working on it.
This blog is evidence of that. I'm forcing myself to write and share what's in my head with more frequency. I'm doing this because I can't answer the question about where I go from here on my own. I'm doing this because I don't want to go there from here without others by my side along the way.