I have this thing I do, where I imagine what it would be like to wake up and find that I’m back in time, but with all my memories intact. It started at some point during my mission, when I would imagine what it would be like to wake up back in the MTC, at the very beginning of my two year mission. I imagined that after the big long “Noooooo!” that I would get used to the idea and use it to my advantage.
I think about it still, and I think that I would be a much better missionary (ironic, since I haven’t been to church in over a year). My coming out process would be much simpler. I think that I would do many things the same, but some things would definitely be different. I would seek out the people that mattered sooner. I would make the moments count more. I would take more time to play. And rather than succumb to the pressure of “accomplishing” or “being enough”, I would just live, and it would be great.
I was thinking about this in more detail the other day, and thinking about things during my coming out that were wonderful and amazing, but that later brought me a lot of pain. Friendships that I eventually lost. Relationships that ended in a blaze of fire and smoke. And the chaotic attempt to cope with the chaos that was certainly not my most graceful life period.
With the obvious exception of the things I did that hurt other people, I would take most all of it again. I would dive into the friendships and the relationships just as I did before, but with a slight variation.
As I was playing through the scenario in my head, I noticed that in “reliving” this period again the one difference was that I had a solid sense of security and, therefore, confidence. I knew things were going to be okay, and so in this scenario I had no fear. Chance encounters were purposeful encounters. I was more open with my emotions, my interest, my intent. The more I ran through this “reliving” thing, the more I liked the idea. And then I had a thought.
Why can’t I live that way now? Yes, I don’t have the luxury and the security of knowing where things are going to go and that they’re going to be alright, but I can at least presume the second one.
I decided that the biggest obstacle is something that I simply don’t have in the present: certainty. The whole trick of life is that we have to make our decisions and lead our lives with the deep understanding that nothing is certain. And I think it’s that uncertainty that paralyzes me, that adds a sense of fear or hesitancy to my life. If I could conquer it, the confidence that comes with it would feel incredible.
But the more I think about it, the more I think that conquering uncertainty isn’t the point. And it’s probably a fruitless effort anyway. I think the real key is to learn to accept uncertainty, but to live with it knowing on a very deep level that everything will be okay. Even if everything falls apart, we’ll live.
This is a challenge for me. But I would really like to get there. Because the level of living in that state would be so fulfilling. It reminds me of a quote from the Dalai Lama, and I’ll leave you with that.