Have you ever been caught up in your daily problems and sorrows so much so that at some point you realize life has been passing you by and that you are nothing but a bystander? It is as if you have been locked in a room or somewhere watching all the action through a keyhole. And that all this time you have been a distant observer. You wish you could be a part of this outer world but somewhere in your mind you are not sure if you are able to catch up with the rest. In the words of Ray Bradbury:
“He wanted to be near and not near them, he saw them close, he saw them far. Suddenly they were awfully small in too large a room in too big a town and much too huge a world. In this unlocked place they seemed at the mercy of anything that might break in from the night.”
Through your keyhole you watch the action outside. Suddenly you are overwhelmed with a sense of terrified excitement. You want to laugh and cry at the same time. You know you want to be part of this bigger picture. And yet you feel you can’t because you are lacking the expertise or the knowledge or the know how.
Like most of you out there I thought I had planned and figured out everything in my life. From my education, to my career, to my job, to my family, everything. I thought I was prepared and knew a lot about life. I had read tremendously and learned everything from books. I had figured it all out, all except perhaps how to live. And in pursuit of all the things that I dreamed about or cared for, I have:
“Crossed the seas, I have left cities behind me, and I have followed the source of rivers towards their source or plunged into forests, always making for other cities. I have had women, I have fought with men ; and I could never turn back any more than a record can spin in reverse. And all that was leading me where? To this very moment…” Jean-Paul Sartre
This very moment of realizing that at this point in my life having jumped off life’s wagon to take care of my problems I do not fit in with the rest of the world. I feel that I am not in my place, I feel that I am nowhere.
Last week when I received my husband’s death certificate, I had to meet with different people at various institutes and companies to close his accounts and files. When these people drew a line across his name, I realized that what they did was summed up his life. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote:
“One always dies too soon — or too late. And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are — your life, and nothing else.”
So all the planning and the hard work, all the dreams we had of a future together, of a life to be spent in old age, just ended with a line drawn neatly across his name. Am I to understand that the future is only one day? That there is:
“Only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.” Jean-Paul Sartre