Ready to Live

by Jo Lawrence-Mills

Do, or do not. But you will never be ready. Nobody is ever ready. You'll wait forever to be ready. Readiness is a lie.

You were not ready for birth. Shot out unexpectedly into the maelstrom, you wailed for your life. Terror and overwhelm, breathing, yes, the shock and awe of light, but not ready. And never ready for your first day of school. The fears, the sick feeling in your stomach, a new world opening up, an old world dying, but never ready. And the death of your father, perhaps expected, perhaps prepared for, but not ready. Waves of grief, guilt, maybe, joy, maybe, but how the hell could you be ready? You weren't, but you were alive, and you breathed where he could not, and you took it all into your ancient heart. The cancer diagnosis, the loss of your job, an unexpected piece of news. You weren't ready. But you opened. You kept going.

You stumbled, fell, hurt yourself. Picked yourself up. Lost your way. But you were never ready. Ready for what? For a life without pain? Without the stumbling? For the answer? A guidebook? An authority? You always knew, that was no life at all.

You fell in love with the stumbling, with the doubts, the mistakes, with saying the wrong thing, making a mess. You laughed as your dreams crumbled to dust.

Just begin, today, even though you don't know how. Splash the paint everywhere. Cover the canvas with life. Get it all wrong, and feel so right.

You may not be ready, but you are ready to try, to fail, to give yourself to the maelstrom.

- Jeff Foster