Maybe everyone doesn’t have this problem, but I seem to be able to find a way to turn every question asked into a deep question of philosophical struggle. I try really hard not to do this so much, but it just seems to happen anyway. My therapist used to tell me that being human makes us all existentialist to some degree, but that some of us tend to “live there”. So now I guess you know my address.
The question of the hour that I am being asked is “Why are you coming back to Georgia?” I don’t know if it is always intended, but the question tends to make me feel that I have to give some explanation complete with a neat little bow that helps the asker understand how everything that happened was “meant to be”. I keep finding myself tempted to do that, but then I stop short. Because frankly, I don’t believe in “meant to be”.
Now maybe those asking the question just want some kind of concrete answer. Maybe they wonder if maybe the job didn’t work out or if I hated Boise. Maybe by the time their question gets to me on existential street I have made too much of it. The concrete answers are fairly easy. The job was not my favorite, but was working out okay (thanks to a few really fun co-workers). I certainly could have found my way into the Idaho Library world. Boise was as beautiful and traffic free as I hoped and the foothills continue to be a thing of beauty. I certainly have not minded playing with my nephew who I know is the most adorable and brilliant toddler on the planet. There is no event or specific situation that I can point to and say, “That’s it!”
Yet to say that I am coming back because I am “meant” to be in Georgia would also be a lie. Just as it would have been a lie to say I was “meant” to come to Boise. Both decisions were choices made by a human being trying to make her way in a complicated world. And both decisions have their own sets of baggage.
The only things absolutely certain in this world are that we were born and one day we will die. We don’t have many choices about either of those things and quite frankly we don’t have as much choice as we like to think about all the stuff in between. As a good friend likes to remind me, we work in the dark. Since we work in the dark, we need to move towards the things that bring the most light to our souls. And let me tell you Georgia brings a lot of light to my soul. And quite frankly the darkness I have felt as a result of moving away from that light has been deeply lonely and at times unexpectedly terrifying.
I have been in that place of darkness before nearly 20 years ago when I went through some of the worst depression of my life. It was in that darkness that I learned that while I can’t “unchoose" some of the baggage of my life, I have choices on how to travel with it. The way out of the darkness is to find the way that I can bring my light to the dark world. It was a long, hard and painful road out of that darkness, but I learned in that arduous journey that I am strong. I can do hard things. So I could adjust to life in a new place across the country. I have no doubts about that. But frankly I don’t want to. I don’t want to struggle in that much darkness when I know a place where there is light for my soul already blazing. I mistakenly imagined that I was bringing all the light with me, or that there would be lots of light already waiting for me in my new home. Turns out that much of that light was radiating from some pretty amazing people who, like me, are working in the dark and just doing their best to bring their own light in the dark world. Because that is how it works - we shine our light but that isn’t how we find our way. We find our way by the lights of others.
So I am not going to say this was not meant to be, nor will I say that Boise wasn’t meant to be. I have chosen the road that feels the most life giving to me right now. And Georgia "in peaceful dreams I see, the road leads back to you."