I guess I’ve always known on some level that life can change in an instant, but the thought was always one I kept off to the side of my existence. Choosing, instead, the comfortable illusion of safety, of stability, I went about my life pretty much ignoring the fact that I was walking along an edge – a kind of precipice that constantly held many possibilities I didn’t want to consider.
And then it happened – WHAM! – that moment, that flash, that micro-second between where I was and where I was now going. It happened. The edge appeared ahead of me, and before anything could stop the momentum, I’d fallen into what felt like the abyss. I’d fallen into the darkness of what I was actually always walking beside – the possibilities that exist alongside all of us in every moment of our lives.
And it was scary. It was overwhelming. It was lonely, cold, and, oh so sad. And I remember that my initial thought, as I sat in the chasm with desperate tears streaming down my face, was that I had to find my way back up to the ledge – back to my world of comfort and safety. How would I find my way back? Where did my solid ground go?
The answers emerged slowly – there was no way back, and, perhaps more poignant than that, the realization that there, in that dark place, there was actually, almost unbelievably, solid ground. What a surprise that was. Granted it was earth that I’d never stepped on before. It was unfamiliar, un-navigated, and unchartered territory, but it was a place of substance, of firmness, in its own right. I discovered that although I had fallen off the edge into a life I hadn’t yet had, replete with experiences and emotions I had never held the depth of, I could stand – I could breathe in this space, and I could hold myself there.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not insinuating that I’m happy about falling off this particular edge. I’m not (yet) feeling much gratitude about being in this new space, with all its wonder and its lessons to learn. In fact, there is part of me still kicking and screaming and, at times, asking, “Why me?” There is part of me that hates being over the edge.
And then, for a brief moment, I allow myself to see that in some cosmic way, I’m actually in exactly the same place I’ve always been – walking along the edges again. They are new edges now, and they are edges that I once again would like to ignore. But my soul feels a tad bit braver, just a little more open to the existential reality that we, all of us, are always just one moment away from something different and new – things full of wonder and beauty, and things full of pain and heartache – one heartbeat away from something that will shake up our world in ways we couldn’t possibly imagine.
So for now, I’m going to try and remember, that whether I like it or not, I am living at the edge – always.