Rather than look down the road at a horizon obscured by thick clouds, I’m focusing my attention on what’s directly under my feet. One or two footsteps ahead. That’s all I can manage.
When I look down, I see that my feet look like someone who goes barefoot too much. I see that I’m rough on my shoes. I see that people spit their gum on the sidewalks with great frequency. Why is that?
What I don’t want to see is that I don’t know where I’m going. I’m neither walking away from a problem nor walking toward a solution. I’m just walking. Maybe even a little aimlessly. Dangled just out of reach is a carrot. This carrot that I cannot grasp or fully envision is the answer to all my current problems. There are many other hands swatting at one another for that carrot.
This is all I can process now: carrots, shoes, gum on the sidewalk.
The road ahead, behind those clouds? It could lead to the gates of happiness and prosperity heretofore unknown. It could be another day just like today, which is one-half blessing and one-half torture. It could be a cliff.
There’s no way of knowing. There’s only so much I can do to prepare.
I can’t allow myself to contemplate it for too long. When I do, I don’t sleep at night. I don’t eat during the day. I worry endlessly. Suddenly, the irrational and extreme actions of loved ones in the last few years make more sense. When you are close to the edge, you begin to feel its pull. It becomes a great struggle to avoid looking into the chasm.
For the first time in my life the expression One Day at a Time holds real meaning. It’s more than a lousy ’70s sitcom. It’s more than the popular bumper sticker in the parking lot at AA meetings. It’s a guiding principle at this point. God, let me make it to another sunset, let me find some sleep in the night ahead. Let me awaken to a better day tomorrow.
Let me find a carrot on the road ahead. Let the clouds part to expose clarity of direction.
And really, what is it with all the gum on the sidewalks?