The cussed thing about life is that it doesn’t stay the same. It is definitely a moving target. Just when you feel your ducks are in a row, a hunter ventures on your land and fires. The ducks scatter; and you are left on the side of the pond, watching the feathers settle.
Chinua Achebe describes events in Nigeria that put our own existence in proper perspective in his novel, “Things Fall Apart”. The chaos of other people’s worlds puts my own in solid perspective. My son stands in the dining room doorway and gently says, “Things change; people fall apart.” I smile and sip my herbal tea and think Things change…people fall apart….And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.
But even though one’s world might seem to be spinning, the plates whirling off of the dining room table as the planet goes round and round, still, one can find one’s calm in the center of chaos. I’ve been reaching for calm for months on end; and I can see it, hovering, elusive, just in the distance. I lean towards it, reaching out my finger tips, and I feel its coolness still beyond my reach. I know that I can step another foot and find it; I know how much courage that step will take.
My grandmother, Johanna Ulz Lyons, used to tell me to put my best foot forward. “Which one is that, Nana?” I’d ask, every time. “The one going forward first,” she would say, every time. And I’d step forward, in my penny loafers that she bought me at the shoe store next to her business. I’ve been putting my best foot forward ever since. Even if things change, even if I fall apart, I’ll be moving forward still, towards the calm, towards the peace.