Sometimes the best way to move into the unknown is to take familiar steps, small steps. To do ordinary things to deal with something that is in no way ordinary. We're always going someplace new, all the time. Familiar things just let us pretend that we aren't moving into unfamiliar territory. You take those small familiar steps, and you try to be honest, not to live as if nothing had changed but still to go on with your life. But there are times when what you need is a piece of how things used to be.
My mom told me once that when you're afraid of something, what you want more than anything else is to make it go away. You want your life back to the way it was before you found out that there was something to be afraid of. You want to build a high wall and live your old life behind it. But nothing ever stays the same. That's not your old life at all. That's your new life with a wall around it. Your choice is not about going back to the way things were. Your choice is about hiding, or about going right to the heart of the thing that scares you.
Even when we know we'll never find the answers, we have to keep on asking questions.
When you're little, you like to think you know everything, but the last thing you really want is to know too much. What you really want is for grown-ups to make the world a safe place where dreams can come true and promises are never broken. And when you're little, it doesn't seem like a lot to ask.
My grandfather used to tell my mom that kids should never have to worry about anything more serious than baseball. Everything you need to know is there. It has success and failure, moments when you come together and moments where you stand alone. And it has an ending. Not a clock, like in other sports, but an ending. And that, my grandfather said to my mom, is as close as a kid should have to come to that sort of thing.
People talk a lot as if the most important thing in life is to always see things for what they really are. But everything we do, every plan we make, is kind of a lie. We're closing our eyes and pretending that the day won't ever come when we won't need to make any more plans. Hope is the biggest lie there is, and it is the best. We have to keep going as if it all mattered, or else we wouldn't keep going at all.
People say that when we grow up, we kick at everything we've been told, we rebel against the world our parents worked so hard to bring us into, that part of growing of is kicking at the ties that bind. But I don't think that's why we kick at all. I think we kick when we find out that our parents don't know much more about the world than we do. They don't have all the answers. We rebel when we find out that they've been lying to us all along, that there isn't any Santa Claus at all.
Is every moment of our lives built into us before we're born? If it is, does that make us less responsible for the things we do? Or is the responsibility built in too? After you hit the ball, do you stand and wait to see if it goes out, or do you start running and let nature take its course?
The hardest thing you'll ever learn is how to say goodbye.
What makes a man who he is? Is it the worst things he's ever done, or the best things he wants to be? When you find yourself in the middle of your life and you're nowhere near of where you were going, how do you find the way from the person you've become to the one you know you could have been?
When everything in your life is right on track, it's easy to believe that things happen for a reason; it's easy to have faith. But when things start to go wrong then it's very hard to hold on to that faith. It's hard not to wonder whose reasons these things happen for.
My mother always talked to me a lot about the sky. She liked to watch the clouds in the day, and the stars at night... especially the stars. We would play a game sometimes, a game called, what's beyond the sky. We would imagine darkness, or a blinding light, or something else that we didn't know how to name. But of course, that was just a game. There's nothing beyond the sky. The sky just is, and it goes on and on, and we'll play all of our games beneath it.