• Jeresh Charles

of Moving Forward

I stand at the precipice of something unknown. Whether a cliff from where I plunge to my death or a summit from whence I see the path of my destiny before me, lies hidden. The veiled anticipation gives me anxiety and I feel the floor giving way as my knees wobble and my stomach churns. My heart pounds faster and I gather my cluttered thoughts as I brace myself for what is yet another pivotal moment in my life. The jitters one feels before facing the unknown assault me and I give in to the swirling thoughts of darkness which bring pessimism and hopelessness. What I knew as concrete is stripped away as I am uprooted from my place of decadence and comfort, my sanctum sanctorum and replanted elsewhere. The new environment scares me and yet my instincts scream for me to adapt as soon as possible or remain a relic of the past, fossilized in mediocrity. The waves of uncertainty overwhelm me as they batter ceaselessly against my fragile conscience. My deeds as a sinner and the semblance of saintly virtues flash before me as I try to divine the cause of such an upheaval in my life.

They say change is inevitable and that’s true, yet when things change we feel sadness and pain at the loss of the known, and the comfortable. We have been conditioned to prefer the known for that’s what gave us, as a species, the collective knowledge and understanding of surviving in the wild where there are at the very least a million ways to die. We settled, built habitations, nurtured families and held fast to the idea of the comfortable, because in it lies security. The unknown brings with it dangers and this debilitating fear cripples us as we encounter it slowly creeping into our lives. Yet, each one of us walks this path, whether we like it or not, for such is the price of life, adapt or die, very Darwinian, and nihilistic to the point of helpless hopelessness. The abyss of existential fear stares deep into our souls and we feel lost, alone, broken and tired. The courage to be human departs and we feel the maze closing in, trapping us in its ever changing labyrinthine paths. From the meadows of security, we find ourselves surrounded by a mist that veils what lies ahead, plunging us into a primordial state of terror as we struggle to make sense of it all. Science takes us only as far as the how, the why remains elusive. We try to reset and reboot our system but it takes a while before we accept the changed as the new normal and the process repeats itself endlessly.

Life isn’t easy with its ever changing paradigm. It shifts and tosses us, tempts and tests us in fiery trials of misery and misfortune even in the midst of a blessing. And as the French say, c’est la vie, or such is life. And yes, such is life indeed. While pondering this, I figured something, the antidote to fear isn’t courage or bravery, it is love and a rational mind. Love soothes the wounds inflicted by the terror of fear on our souls. It acts as the salve to the bruises and an ointment of healing for at the center of love lies acceptance and security, the two things fear snatches from our minds. The rational mind helps understand fear in the broader framework of love, so that we know when it comes, love will help us overcome it too. When I say love, I don’t mean the simple romantic love, rather, a deep sacrificial and true love which encompasses us, protecting and correcting, not seeking to get but to give. The love our Creator had when He made us in His image. It is this hope that gives me strength to move forward. The love that surrounds me even in my uncertainty, leading me where I’m supposed to go. William Shakespeare said, some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. And I believe, every changing circumstance which uproots us and every storm that batters us is that greatness being thrust upon us. Greatness doesn’t come easy and the summit is self-correcting, ever being pushed further and further away as we inch closer to it, yet always visible. This seemingly Sisyphean task of constantly pursuing greatness will one day pay rich dividends and when it does, so happy we shall be. The shame of the past is erased and new doors open to new beginnings, ushering a breaking dawn.

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