Is weird. I've decided that 22 is both very old and very young. It is old because all the sudden there is all this responsibility and pressure that hasn't been there before, and different things are expected of you, and people start talking to you a little bit different and telling you different things than they would have before. It is young because people start telling you different things than they would have before, and you realize how much you were oblivious to before, and how weighty the world is and you feel like you're finally seeing things for what they really are in a lot of ways.
And seeing things for what they really are can be hard. There is some truth to the saying that ignorance is bliss. People are hurt and abused and go to jail and have depression and commit suicide and starve and manipulate in truly horrible ways, and the older you get and the more you know, you start realizing that these things are not just abstractions, they really happen to actual people, sometimes (often) much, much closer to home than you ever expected.
Sometimes I have growing pains, and I just sit and think, how do I even take in all this? What am I supposed to do with it? Why have I lucked out, when sometimes it would be easier for me to just have gone through something myself than to see someone else go through it?
This is when I know I really am an incurable optimist.
I do not think its right to wallow in the bad. Life sucks and then you die just doesn't cut it. For so many reasons. Yes, sometimes life sucks, but even in the midst of everything terrible, there is beauty and redemption and hope. Always.
I do not think its right to pretend, to shy away, or to leave the bad in the world at the level of abstraction. We cannot pretend abuse and pain and loneliness don't exist. They do. We cannot pretend it won't happen in our personal world, because it will, and it already has, even if we don't see it. And above all, because from my perspective this is the easiest trap to fall into, we CANNOT gloss over it. We MUST face the world with absolute brutal honesty.
We have absolutely no right to judge. Nobody is perfect, and pain has happened to everyone. We cannot reach people or love them if we judge them. We must look them in the eye. God will always be there for people that hurt, but so must we. That means saying, even though God is the only one who can ultimately heal you and take care of everything, and even though this is dirty and messy and painful, if you'll let me I would like to stay here right by your side and go through it with you, every step. Because, people, that is life. Dirty and messy and painful. It doesn't have to be soul-witheringly lonely too.
But remember, too, it is not only dirty and messy and painful. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, the dirt and mess and pain is only a small part of life. That's why wallowing is wrong. Yes, mud needs to be addressed, cleaned thoroughly and not swept under the rug; but make music while you're doing it, even if you're singing through tears. The music is all the sweeter for it.
Thank you for letting me collect my thoughts out-loud. Its been a bit of a philosophical few weeks, in case you couldn't tell. Thank you, also, for letting me get a bit religious. Hope you don't mind too much. What does all this have to do with writing, you say? Think of it this way: Who do you think make the best writers? The people who won't acknowledge the mess? The people who wallow in it?