“The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.” ~ Peter Abelard
“Of all the questions we leave unanswered the one that comes back to haunt us the most is: ‘What if …’ What if I’d married my college sweetheart? What if I had the good sense not to? What if I had been born in this job market? What if … What if I’d planned a little less? What if I’d lived a little more? What if I’d chucked it all and started my own company? ‘What ifs’ are never idle fantasy. These are our hopes, dreams and desires.” ~ Rashmi Bansal, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish
Have you ever, well, I’m sure you have because you’re human, but has your life ever been shattered in some devastating way? It’s happened to me more than once. I’m sure it has to you too. You’ve lost a loved one, or a job, or a relationship broke apart, and your life is turned upside down. You know the feeling, everything you thought was true comes into question and you don’t know what you believe anymore, you don’t know how to get out of your current dreadful situation.
The first big time it happened to me was when I began to study religion in college. Many of the things I thought were true about The Bible, and Christianity, and world religions, and history challenged my tiny little belief system. In a way I welcomed this. After all I went to college to expand myself. But it was nerve wracking too because I had to do a lot of internal work examining the old and new information. That process was emotionally and physically draining. I was lucky though, because I’d been taught by my father to question everything. That’s what I did. I asked lots of questions in my classes, and I began to ask myself, “What if this or that thing I was taught wasn’t true?”
Even though this process was unsettling, it was also familiar and I embraced the challenge of taking all my beliefs out and seeing if they fit the new information I was learning. Anything that didn’t fit, I threw out.
So, even though I was going through this tremendous internal upheaval, it was exhilarating too. I did, however, have problems with people looking at my struggles from the outside. They wanted to fix me. And that more than anything traumatized me.
I think we get into comfortable ruts and don’t want to change and if someone we know is struggling with some existential upheaval, we don’t know what to do to help. In a way, their struggles challenge our own. Sometimes we do more damage by trying to get them to go back to the way they were, which makes us feel better but might not be the right thing for them.
I’m grateful to my father for asking lots of questions and teaching me to do the same. He taught me how to pay attention, to read between the lines, to look at people’s motivations. Those skills have served me well when I’ve been confronted with life shattering events. But he taught me something else, that he learned from his father. Sometimes the best way to help someone going through a life altering event is to just be with them. Don’t try to change them. Just stay by their side so they know that if they need you, you’re there to help.
I’m coming out of the doldrums that began at the beginning of the year. I’ve let myself take time to look at my situation and figure out where I want to go from here. And this time, since I have lots of alone time at home, I don’t have any annoying people trying to interfere with my process.
Part of my doldrums also had to do with the upheaval going on in the world. It seems to me we are collectively challenging everything we thought was true. People are speaking up and challenging not only our belief systems, but the way we’ve been doing business, governing, and the doctrines of our religious communities. I think this is a good thing, but it’s also draining. The only way I see that we can get through these troubled times is to just be with each other. It will also help if we listen, question our old beliefs, and try to see things from a different point of view.
Having been through this process many times, I can say the end results are worth the effort.
Welcome to my new followers. Thanks so much for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Have a fabulous weekend.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2019
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.