Today’s question revolves around one simple idea: are there lines of possibility that exist in the very blood that we shed so easily that defines not only who we are but what we can become?
I have struggled. I seem to be always struggling. I write almost always about struggling. Looking at the whole picture it seems that I truly need to take a deep breath and relax into the fight that seems so important to me. But no matter what it is I am struggling with today, the fight simply and honestly feels not only natural but important to the existence I claim as mine.
I don’t know a lot of people. I am not the kind of girl that sits around a table, drinking wine, and passing gossip with girlfriends. I am not the kind of person that invites others into her home; not even the friends of my children. I have never been the person who truly needed a horde to push me, pull me, change me, or question me. I have never been a person who needed that date on Friday night. I spent so many years struggling within my own mind that the necessary of outside influence has always been a degrading noise that competes with the voice that is mine and mine alone.
I have learned that there are pros and cons to not having a wide structure of friends and relatives surrounding you; namely that while you aren’t accountable for much, you also don’t and can’t understand the paths, the truths, that others are fighting. I am honest enough to admit that everyone from narcissists to introverted geeks struggle. I am honest enough to see that there isn’t and has never been a struggle that lived in a person that didn’t in some way change the very necessity of the fight in the first place. Even those who deny they need the struggle, or that even they have a struggle, struggle with the notion itself. We, each and everyone of us, struggle.
I would love to be able to admit here in writing that my struggle is in some way profound. That the fights I gamble on, the fights I play the odds on, are uniquely and solely important. I would like to sit up straight and be able to state with all the conviction in my soul that my fight is not only important but essential to the very world in which we live. But it wouldn’t be a truth. It wouldn’t really be following the sincere promise I made to myself to be honest; if in no other way, at least in my writings.
But while I don’t know that many people, and have no wish to fall down that rabbit hole, I do know without a doubt that the fight that I so happily parade around is not unique to me. People wage wars deep within their souls over religion, politics, right and wrong, children and even the spending of money. People fight demons and confront ghosts with the same veracity that I get at all seconds of these passing days. People fight the good fight, not always voluntarily, but because somewhere, some way it was decided that the fight was deserving of the attention that we all give it.
The one thing that people, or books, or doctors, or even well meaning husbands can not explain is why there is such a struggle within us. Why do we need to decide that the path we are on is somehow crooked and cracked? Why do we have this unbearable force within us that says that the answer must be found never given? Why do we have this incredible emotional need to understand anything? Why isn’t the answer just given? Why isn’t the answer just there?
Why do we need prayer? Why do we need to examine emotions? Why do we need to spend years on experiments to find a truth? Why were we given this heartbreaking desire to find something meaningful? Why isn’t the meaning, the answer, the proposition right there? Why do we have to work so hard?
There is a Metallica quote that has always resonated with me, “Oh please God, wake me”. I am not a huge fan of Metallica, I don’t understand many of the lyrics and therefore can’t seem to find the soulful connection I need within the notes of the songs I faithfully listen to over and over. But these words from the moment I heard them somehow grabbed my attention and I felt not what the author needed me to hear but what I needed to hear. I need to feel that pain, I need to see that struggle, I need to be okay with the incredible emptiness that such a beautiful quote can deliver. The words laid out bare before me shows me that the struggle isn’t lonely. The struggle isn’t one-sided. But resonates in the pen of one person somewhere; deep within them where only two paths can cross.
I am not a traditional religious person. I have studied at length all three of the major religions. I have listened to the words of the most popular and greatest books ever to be written. I have marveled at the ability of one book to so easily stand not only against the forces within it but those forces that would easily destroy it. I take my time wondering about this world and the religion within it; how it shapes those that seem to fly directly into the intellectual argument and never hear one word that surrounds them and those who don’t hear the argument in the first place. I watch as people, great people, listen to the word of their own religion and truly believe that no one is right but themselves; and they do this without the struggle I can’t seem to live without. They are a flock that moves in one direction despite the very real question, the very real fight that religion should invoke.
So to say that a quote about what is essentially a prayer to the most popular being on earth is what can settle my soul is staggering. Why do we fight these struggles but listen and feel one line in a story that is old as time itself? What part of us determines the fight? What part of us determines the need to struggle?
I don’t know the answer to the question I put forth here; I wouldn’t believe someone if they said they had the answer to any question that drives my mind and soul to struggle with my own reality. In fact, while I can acknowledge that we each struggle, I am not capable of understanding the need for struggle even as I bleed all over my favorite thought. But the question regarding the need for struggle, for a good fight, is paramount to understanding the true drive there is within each of us to exist. Will my struggle bring any relief to me? No. Will my struggle ever be over? No. I will lie dying on a single bed wondering if the struggle I put myself through for so long was ever the answer to a question that can not be answered. I will die struggling with the struggle for that is my lot in faith. That is who I am.
Tomorrow is another struggle. And I will continue to fight even when there is nothing to fight for. Not because that was how I was made, but because no one else has ever understood this world and the conflict that bounds it together so that I might have a way out.