In life, there are five inescapable things. For everyone. You. Me. The man who made your sushi. Glenn Close.
No one gets out of here without them.
1. We are born.
2. We die.
3. There is uncertainty in between.
Let’s stop the tape.
The first two are bookends. The fact that they will occur is beyond our control. Full stop.
That third, though. Sheesh.
Uncertainty is certain.
That can be a vinegary pill to swallow. Despite all the maps we use and warranties we buy, it is still certain that uncertainty will happen. We will get lost. Stuff will break.
It’s a jungle out there. And wildness happens.
Wildness that threatens our sense of comfort and stability. Our sense of self.
As poet Anne Sexton wrote in the 1970s:
Even without wars
life is dangerous.
But that’s not the end of the story. There are two more inescapable things.
4. You will be loved
5. You will love
In the face of life’s danger, it’s easy to let Numbers 4 and 5 slip our minds. Or take them for granted.
But for granted we cannot take them. Because they give lift and glory and guts to our lives. And they make it possible to hold life’s uncertainty. Hot potato though it may be.
Later in the 1970s, Ms. Sexton penned this:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough
Even a small love.
The smallest love – a two-line note, a nuzzle with the mutt – can give us the backbone to stay with the wildest uncertainty.
Keep love near. And spread it far.