ב”ה الحمد لله
Last night I was reliving some moments that had arisen; apparently as an infant, my head had been banged against the wall (in an effort to silence my crying). As I write that, I experience a certain amount of disbelief (perhaps on your behalf?). How could I remember that; can I be sure it really happened; is some part of my subconscious just making this up? But then, as I ask those challenging questions, another part of me is quietly confident that indeed, these events, and the tears that come from remembering them, are real and abiding.
And last night, as I trembled with the old fear and with the infant’s lack of certainty whether I would make it through, an odd question arose. “Should I stay or should I go?” It felt like somehow, in that moment of yester-year, my soul had asked whether I should leave this world. I found myself struck by the enormity of that question.
And it occurred to me that perhaps it was a question worth sharing with you. Because each of us, in every moment, is ultimately confronting that same question, “should I stay or should I go?” Apart from the vagaries of our mood, our emotions, our daily successes and failures, are we really wanting to continue to be here? And if so, for what purpose?
I am convinced that each of us is here for a unique purpose, that we each have a special contribution to make to this world. Are we up to the task of embracing that purpose? Not in every moment, and not without regularly pausing for rest (and certainly not without setbacks), but in the larger scheme of things, the question lingers: “Should I stay?”
I don’t think it’s an easy question. Because we would like some awareness of what our purpose here is before we evaluate whether the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are worth opposing for that purpose. Some of us have a clear sense of life purpose. Some of us have fleeting glimpses. And some of us struggle for any semblance of meaning. But I think even without rational understanding, it’s possible to have an intuitive awareness that there is a larger purpose and context to our being here. And it’s possible to trust that there is intention to our lives.
Perhaps that intuitive sense is enough to keep us going through difficult times.
I hope so. For me, I apparently answered the question many years ago with “l’ll stay”. There were times in high school where the only reason I stayed was because leaving would have meant they had won; that the abusers had vanquished me. Today I have reasons that involve my children and my wife, my extended family, my friends and my colleagues. But mostly, I have this sense that I’m not done here yet. That there is work for me to do, work that I can only do after healing from these old wounds. Contributions that I want to make, whatever they turn out to be.
So tonight it’s back to the loving arms of my wife to cry and heal, and tomorrow it’s back to the computer desk to code and debug.
And after that, who knows?
But even without knowing, I’m happy for the path and grateful for the adventure. Even when it hurts. I’m staying.