Cheryl Hughes: My Career As a Woman
There: Today, I said to God the thing I often say to God on a disappointing day: “I just wish I could get there.” I don’t know where there is exactly, and I even suspect that, on some level, I am there, which would be even more disappointing, because I don’t want here to be there.
I wish I had the synchronicity (Is that even a word?) that Charles Shultz, author of the Peanuts comic strip, had. He announced the date of the last Peanuts strip, put the comic strip together, laid down his pen then promptly died a brief time later. His timing was impeccable. He felt the rhythm of life, danced to it, and sat down when the music stopped.
John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Of course, all I saw of Charles Shultz’s life was a weekly comic strip in the Sunday paper for decades. I didn’t see what happened to him while he was busy planning what would happen to Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Snoopy each week. Babies may have cried, cars broken down, hot water heater valves popped off, but in the midst of it all, the characters of Peanuts went on. They showed up every week, because Shultz showed up every day. He was there in his there.
Have you ever noticed that the good ones make it look easy? It’s true in everything—sports, music, racing, life. Yes, there are those people who are gifted, but more times than not, the people who make it look easy are the ones who have put in the work. I read an article once in which a virtuoso violinist was praised in this way: “Her’s is the sound of many lonely hours in an empty practice room.”
My practice room is far from lonely or empty. I am surrounded by people who learn from me and I from them; and in the process, life happens to us, regardless of our plans. Once in a great while, I will have an epiphany of sorts and see clearly that the obstacles and restraints in my life are actually the vehicles that will carry me to my there. Other times find me whining and complaining that I didn’t get a fair shake.
I am discovering that it takes patience and confidence and even wisdom to recognize “the sanctity of the present moment.” On my smart days, I remember, and even manage, to live here instead of longing for there. It makes life much easier. It’s like John Wayne said, “Life’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid.”