I woke up early today to the sound of mist barely discernible to the human ear. It would turn to rain when I took to a path with a friend for a morning walk. Merlin was in tow or rather I was being towed by Merlin. He loves this time as do I. He insists on coming, slamming hanging leashes, wailing a moanful plea when he wonders if I will take him or not, pawing me incessantly as I sit at my desk chair looking at email. Of course, I do take him. Leaving Merlin behind is not an option around here. Ask my husband. Leaving Merlin behind means a complete wake up call to the whole neighborhood. If you don’t take Merlin, you pay.
Okay, back to the walk. Along the path, my friend and I talked of many things, but one discussion in particular struck a chord. We talked of those moments and challenges that when faced brought out a cry “why me?” Afterall, we think, we work hard, we try to live right, we strive to treat others well. But life presents us with many forks in the road challenging the notion that following a check list of good living means we won’t face adversity. Which seems to get to the point of the matter. We can lament our fate, the difficulty of choosing, the outcome of a test, the unveiling of unexpected lab results, the action of a friend who wounded us, the betrayal of a loved one, but our bemoaning doesn’t change the circumstance that came our way in the first place. I remember driving down a road, distressed at a growing awareness of a truth I had avoided about a relationship up to that moment. I cried the cry why me? also, only to be met with an even more powerful response of why not you? Well, that sure stopped me in my tracks.
Why not offers a different approach. When faced with why not, we are given the possibility of considering another perspective to our dilemma — that may be we are not a victim, but someone who can weather the storms, conquer the challenge of self doubt, find forgiveness for the failings of a loved one whose humanity is so much like our own, overcome a powerful addiction, walk courageously in the face of a prognosis which tells us how very vulnerable we are.
We live every day in uncertainty and we don’ t really know what the next moment will bring. Perhaps that is why we get so stuck — we think we do know.
In this moment, however, we can count on many things. A friend to talk to on a path in nature, a dog like Merlin to make us laugh, a hummingbird tasting the nectar of a sage bush, our ability to breath, the knowledge that there are gifts of insight in all the things that come our way if we pay attention.
Yes, why not. It is not really a question actually. Something else altogether — a way to consider living.