It’s been an interesting winter. Without trying to sound too melodramatic, I’ve been going through what one might call a crisis of faith, a shaking of foundations. I won’t go into the details but, in short, I was filled with tension: angry and resentful. Little made sense as years of believing certain things were called into question. It was unpleasant, uncomfortable and destabilizing. I am coming out of the tail end of it now and, while humbled by the insights, I am also relieved to know that at the core of who I am, I still believe in interconnectness and magic, or, more specifically, that life is magic. Everything else is up for question.
In December I wrote a series of blogs in praise of the power of words. I recounted how the books I choose to read tend to answer or be a salve to whatever issue I am consciously or unconsciously facing. Once again, I wasn’t failed by my inner literary compass. Primo Levy’s memoir, Survival in Auschwitz, got me through the dark moments of December. Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, helped finish the job of shedding light.
I wrote about Levi’s book on December 15. There is much more to say on that topic and perhaps I will share more in another blog. Below, however, is a short dialogue from Night Circus. It occurs near the end of the book between a young man and an illusionist. I read these words and the final pieces clicked into place.
“But I am not … special … not the way they are. I’m not anyone important.”
“I know … You’re not destined or chosen, I wish I could tell you that you were if that would make it easier, but it’s not true. You’re in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that’s enough.”
Who among us are destined or chosen? We can make up stories after the fact but, in truth, there are a myriad of paths and infinite number of choices with every move we make. Sometimes, maybe all times, we just have to care enough to do what needs to be done.