Wednesday, June 24, 2009
"Cheshire Puss," she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. "Come, it's pleased so far," thought Alice, and she went on, "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where-" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you walk," said the Cat.
"-so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
There are those times in life when you can't see the end from the beginning. You find yourself standing at a fork in the road, and wonder which path to take. Sometimes, though, there are many paths to choose from, many of which lead to exactly the same place. With limited foresight, though, we don't always know which is the best, or which will most effectively take us to where we need to go.
Andy and I are both at forks in the road, and (while our destinations are becoming more and more clear each day) neither of us really knows where we want to end up. This has been a source of private shame for some time, because perhaps the most-asked question posed to persons in our stage of life is, "So, what's next?" Everyone expects you to have a well thought-out answer, to be able to say definitively what your next step will be, and what your ultimate goal is.
Why, though, should there be shame in admitting that I don't know where I want to end up? I don't think I'm alone in not knowing. People go back to school after years in one field to make a career change when they realize that they're not doing what's right for them. For all my life until this point, things have been laid out for me pretty well. I have progressed logically from one step until the next, and finally, have arrived at the point where there is no prescribed logical next step--at least not without an end goal in mind.
Having infinite possibilities before you is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. On one hand, you feel as though you can do anything at all, and that you are limited only by your imagination and determination. On the other hand, self-doubt enters, and all of it seems utterly impossible.
I still don't know the answer to the question, "So, what's next?" We're both trying to be careful, to look toward the end so that we know what way to take to get there. In the mean time, though, there are still bills to pay and Real Life to be reckoned with.
Thankfully, we are not on our own: our Father knows the end from the beginning, and knows what the best way is to get to the end that we want. He has blessed us so far, and will continue to do so, and will guide us as we seek His help. So, while life goes on (ob-lah-di, ob-lah-dah), we will continue to look for what's next, even though we're more interested in answering another question:
Where do we want to end up?