Monday, December 21, 2015

#22 - Around the bend (3/7)

It's nice to remember that things can turn around pretty quickly. 

In an instant, I find that my whole outlook can change. 

Today I went to work feeling in a crummy mood. I had been feeling that way for a couple of days. I had taken some steps to ameliorate my condition, but my negative perspective would not go away. All I could see was cloudy and frowny.

And pretty soon after coming to work, I was around people, and I felt great again. My mood and outlook changed dramatically without anything specific happening.  

What's weird is that for all that time before that, I couldn't see any other possibility than to be sad and forlorn. As hard as a tried, from that vantage point I couldn't imagine that things were about to get better.

When that feeling is there, it's so strong that it convinces me that I'm going to feel like that forever. It becomes the Truth, that there will be no end to the suffering. This is it, and I have no choice but to accept that. I know in my head that that's not true, but that's still the feeling. 

A few months ago, I spent some time in Colorado, and I remember driving through the mountains. And there's that moment when, after winding around the rocky corners, and through the thick brush of forest, in an almost claustrophic tunnel of trees and rock, you turn a corner and BAM! - you see it. The View. Everything opens up for miles and miles: entire mountain ranges, and a great big sky with enormous clouds, and a shining lake with cabins and probably birdhouses that are too small to see but you imagine they're there with little hopping, chirping birds. And this whole breathtaking view unfolds in an instant and you can see why you've come all this way, what wondrous things lie ahead. And if you think in that moment to just 10 seconds earlier, you realize that there's no way you could have imagined that that was around the corner. 

Because the previous 50 corners were just more trees, and more mountain, and more trees. So why would this turn be any different?

I remember other moments like that while traveling. In New York City for the first time, I was walking for miles, enjoying everything I saw. But I was looking out for the Empire State Building. So for mile after mile I'm overshadowed by steel and glass giants that tower over me, and I'm stuck walking through this monotony of gray sidewalk and office buildings, and then suddenly I turn the corner of some street, peer up, and BAM! There it is, straight ahead, the Empire State Building.

I find it comforting to remember this lesson in life. That yes, the feeling - whatever feeling - is there, but it probably won't be forever. That things can improve dramatically, and that it can even happen rapidly. 

If you've been winding on the road of life for awhile, and it's discouraging, and there is no destination in sight; if each new turn reveals a seemingly endless string of disappointments, remember that a beautiful, magnificent landscape may be just around the bend. 

It may be difficult to hope, but hope is what keeps us going; and when you finally see the View, you might know right then that your small, stubborn hope was worth it.     

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