Woyaya: Magic and Mystery

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.

Gilda Radner, Delicious Ambiguity

I have to admit that one of the most recurring themes of my own life experience is the discovery that a thing is not fixed and unmovable.  A child of the very end of the 1950’s and raised in a world that was still very much a 1950’s world, the first impressions of my life were that there were rules, rules must be followed and that if you followed the rules, things worked out well.   Of course, the unspoken rule in such settings is that if things don’t go well it must mean that someone wasn’t following the rules.

The rules could be everything from how to hold your fork at the table to obeying a command of sacred scripture.  To my younger self, I’m not sure that those felt any different one from the other.  It was the same older, beloved people who were teaching me both that I must hold my fork a certain way and that God required a particular thing.  And I believed them.  And now, I believe that they also believed these things.  This was not a period in American life where doubt was much part of the conversation–except to answer it with a clear cut dictum.  A rule.

As we live, hopefully we grow.  We are going.  And we will get there.  We don’t know how, but we will. Woyaya.

I learn, again and again, the deep if often painful value of not knowing.  Not knowing who. Not knowing when.  Not knowing why.  Not knowing where.  Those questions each by themselves account for periods of searching, struggling and to some degree suffering in my life.  They also, without exception, account for growth and insight in my life.  As I shared with a friend recently who had suffered a deep loss:  my losses always seem to tenderize my heart.  I emerge broken, tender and changed.  I think I am a better human being for these experiences, though I would not wish for any of them.  I tend to think that these are universal experiences.

I really believe in using my imagination to create the reality I want to live into, and it often works.  I call that good magic.  I also know that sometimes the reality that emerges is painfully different than what I imagined.  I call that mystery.  I enjoy the harvest of good magic, but mystery always changes the way that I see and experience life.

Woyaya.  We are going.  I don’t know how we will get there.  But, I know we will.

Bob Patrick

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