I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.Gilda Radner
Gilda Radner died of cancer in 1989, so she knew before she passed on that her ending wouldn’t be what she might have imagined it to be. Her cancer had gone into remission but then returned and spread in her body, so she knew that her time on this planet was very limited. She wouldn’t grow to a ripe old age. When she knew that, she knew that “taking the moment and making the best of it” is one of the most important things we can do to make our lives full and dynamic.
We don’t have to know what’s going to happen next. In fact, most people take most of their actions based on what they predict will happen as a result of those actions. They have their lives all “planned out,” and they’re disappointed and frustrated when things don’t pan out as they foresaw them happening. What they don’t realize is that they’ve just set themselves up for the disappointment–had they kept Gilda’s words in mind, they would have realized that it’s not important that we know what’s going to happen next–because we simply can’t–but that we act from our hearts and take the actions that we feel we need to take and let what will happen, happen.
I knew a man once who took almost no actions at all, mostly because he was afraid of what would happen if he did. He was living a “comfortable” life, and he was afraid that he might destroy that comfort if he did anything differently. So he continued to do the same things all the time, all the while growing more and more frustrated because he wasn’t taking any chances or risks. On the outside he presented a contented surface, but he was easily one of the most frustrated people I’ve ever known. It will take a great disaster in his life, probably, to push him out of the “comfortable” ruts in which he’s taken up living his life.
In In Colin Higgins’ work Harold and Maude, Maude says, “A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can.” You don’t have to know if you’re going to win or lose, or what any results of your actions will be. But you do have to act if you’re going to live.
Questions to ponder:
1. How do you envision your “perfect ending” to be? How will you feel if things don’t turn out that way?
2. If athletes knew who was going to win a certain contest, would there be any reason for having it in the first place?
3. What are some of the positive sides of not knowing how things will turn out? What can that add to our lives?
For further thought:
Prepare to live by all means, but for Heaven’s sake do not forget to live.
Credit: Living Life Fully