Spring is supposed to be about rebirth and renewal yet to be honest, I’m not seeing it. In Vermont on the first day of spring we were digging out from 8 inches of fresh snow. Now I’m in New Jersey near April 1st and there’s snow in the forecast here as well – a not so subtle reminder of the unpredictability of the season and of life.
Human nature in general yearns for predictability and control, but life has a way of reminding us over and over again that we’re not in control. The more we are able to surrender to that lack of control and that unpredictability, the better prepared we will be, ultimately, to experience that renewal. Otherwise we find ourselves so busy seeking that control that we lose sight of the beauty in the unpredictable.
I have been given the gift of supporting my 94 year old father as he journeys through his 4th age towards the completion of his life. We’ve been very lucky that he has been physically and mentally sharp for most of those 94 years, but the past year has been rough as his decline has been more pronounced. I am no longer in control of much of anything as I strive and struggle to meet him where he’s at, and I have to let go of any plans I may have in order to best respond to the circumstance of each day.
Yet within this struggle is a lesson I’m slowly but surely learning. On those days when I get hung up on what I want to control, plan and predict, I mostly get frustrated, anxious and in need of chocolate or a nice glass of wine. But on those days when I let go and meet my Dad, and my circumstances, where they are, I am able to discover the gifts of the moment – the love, the gratitude, the evolving memories, the connections – all things that would otherwise be missed. The lesson? Within unpredictability are some of the greatest gifts of all.