The Next Twenty Years
(Written as an entry in Scribbit's writeaway contest.)
Like a hand reaching out in the darkness my future reaches out before me. I can choose to sit in a corner and wait till someone turns on the light, I can panic and stumble around the room screaming for help, or I can calmly take one slow step after another until my hand makes contact with something solid, something to guide me just a little further towards the switch. I choose to calmly move forward. New obstacles in life are like unexpected items on the floor. Sometimes they are painful and quick, like a stepping on a small Lego with my bare foot. Some are more dangerous like a sharp table corner that can bruise or even trip. Some could be fatal, like an open stairwell. Still, I choose to move forward, but with care. I make contact with a wall and use it to guide me. It makes the trip easier. But then the wall is gone for a time and I'm left to search again.
None of us knows what the future holds for us. Even those with the best beginnings can have the hardest endings. Goals are set, plans are made, dreams are dreamed, yet reality holds our fate in it's fickle hands. Death is around any corner, failure is possible with every foot step, and heartache keeps the time. Yet still, I choose to move forward, hand outstretched and feet sliding slowly along the floor. At one point I feel a hand take mine and together we search the darkness. We are still blind but no longer alone. If I fall he will catch me, if I get scared he will hold me, and I will do the same for him. It is better and we continue to move forward. Then little hands pull on my clothing and soon I realize that I am no longer free to move as fast. I now have a little train of children following me in the darkness. I yell out warnings of upcoming objects to save them from the pain I feel. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't and we must stop to make it better. It is a slow process and I often wonder why I bother. Why don't we just give up and learn to live in the darkness? Yet, occasionally there are bits of light that seep through the cracks, not enough to see by, but enough to fill us all with hope as the light reveals just a bit of color in our world. So, we make a game of it, seeing how long we can go without injury, play guessing games with the objects we find, taking pleasure in each new experience, and laughing about the past obstacles.
Our dream is a world filled with light. Our goal is a place without shadow. The detours are endless, the pain is always there, but the hope, the adventure, and the possibilities are the reward. I still make my plans, set my goals, and dream my wild dreams, but I don't depend on them because I know that walls are found in unexpected places, hands are lost in the dark, and sometimes we must stop to help one another or we just need to rest. So the plans change, the goals are reviewed and renewed, and the dreams are still dreamed. We choose to move forward.