In spite of it

Image: Lukas Budimaier

When I was a kid, I thought there was some kind of ‘perfect life’ out there waiting for me. I believed I could get to a place in life where (with enough money, of course) everything would be perfect. I was a poor kid (by US standards). Money was my savior. With any problems that might arise, I’d just throw money at them and make them go away, right?

Then I grew up.

I met plenty of people with plenty of money who had plenty of problems. Biggie Smalls even wrote a song about it.

The money belief then changed to spirituality. If I could just be so spiritually aligned, I’d have that ‘perfect’ life. Things would just fall into place and tranquility would be ever-present.

And then I met a few spiritual people with plenty of problems. (Biggie Smalls did not write a song about this.) As virtuous as they were, they faced many problems that I was facing — some, even, that I’d hoped I’d never have to face.

Something I see now is that the aim shouldn’t be to live some kind of ‘perfect’ life separate from the one we’re already living. Our actions shouldn’t be focused on reaching a place where all of our problems suddenly vanish.

This is not where I place my faith anymore.

What I want to do is live a full life, not absent of my issues — but in spite of them.

I want to be able to — even in moments of utter stress and catastrophe — find what is good, funny, uplifting, and awe-inspiring despite the flesh wounds life has to inflict on me.

I don’t want to keep the company of people with rose colored glasses. I want to hang out with people who can sit with me through life’s foibles. People who don’t see my scars as weaknesses, but as great reasons to tell some good battle stories.

Oh, this life. All of it.

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