We Pay a Price for our Humanity

I think a lot. Like, a lot. Sometimes I get thinking so much that everything kind of blends together until it’s all just a blur and I can’t reach out and catch hold of anything because all of the coherent bits are ripping by me too fast. I think that’s why I write. If I can force my brain to lock in on the words I’m putting down on a page, I can get things things to slow down just enough so that I can make sense of what’s going on up there. So I can make sense of what’s going on out there.

Lately, I find that I’ve not been able to do that. If there’s anything that the past few days have taught me it’s that life in general, the world—whatever words you use to talk about our existence—none of it, not one single bit, makes any lick of sense. I grasp at straws; I come back with nothing. I’ve also learned that us humans like to try and make it make sense anyway. We work daily to ensure everything fits, everything works, all ducks are in a neat little row. But what I’ve started to notice is that most of the time, once we get close enough to getting it all lined up, just when we think we’ve got it, that’s when something comes along and screws up the process, throws a wrench in the plan, and you’re back to a jumble of disconnected parts with which you’ve now got to use to figure out a new jigsaw puzzle.

But we never stop trying to solve that puzzle, God love us. And we become so comfortable with each new theory we develop to comprehend our world that we forget they’re all merely theories. So when we hit the snag and we’re left with a big pile of things that don’t fit, we become lost, we get angry, we’re devastated.

Recently, I hit that point. I’m a little angry, and a whole lot lost. I found myself, early this week sitting in front of a jumbled puzzle and nothing was snapping into place properly. I kept sliding the damn pieces around on the kitchen table trying to see if a picture printed on any of those cardboard chips came anywhere near close to matching with another one and none of it worked. I was so close to giving up and just taking my arm and pushing them all onto the floor in frustration, but I stopped myself, because I’d gotten to thinking again. So I did what I do best, and here I am, sitting in bed with my laptop trying to make sense of things by writing about them. I’ve not yielded much, but this is what I’ve got:

Life doesn’t make sense, because if it did, we’d never get to appreciate how beautiful it is. If it were predictable, we’d end up taking everything for granted—without even understanding what taking something for granted meant. If it were fair, we’d have nothing to fight for. If it were easy, we would not get to test and expand the limits of our strength; we would never discover how capable we truly are.

If we got to keep the ones we love forever, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to love anything as fully as we have been shown, as humans, to do. And I think, despite the soul-crushing grief that inevitably comes with loving someone truly, madly, deeply, that we get to love at all is what makes everything—all of the confusions and disappointments and sorrows that come with living—worth it. That our lives are finite, that our existence is fragile, that we are so easily thrown off of our axis, makes our capacity to do good, to hold each other up, to experience joy, laughter, excitement, peace, and empathy that much more important, that much more meaningful.

I don’t think life is supposed to make sense, anymore. If it were supposed to make sense, we wouldn’t be equipped with the amazing ability to deal with the times when it doesn’t. We wouldn’t be given brothers and sisters to keep us standing when the rug comes out from underneath our feet. We wouldn’t have been given memories, we wouldn’t have been given the capacity to comfort and to hope and to heal. Hell, we wouldn’t even be here, because we wouldn’t have survived the very first time everything went to shit. We pay a price for our humanity, but we were not made to experience it ill-equipped.

And because of this, I think, I can stand firm amidst the chaos. And I can anchor those who haven’t quite gotten their footing back yet to show them that they can stand, too. And we can stand together then, and enjoy an age of sunrises before the next storms roll in.

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