Tom Hanks, or should I say, Forrest Gump, coined one of the most popular catch phrases of the 90s when he sat down on a park bench in Savannah and slowly droned out to the lady beside him, “Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.” People loved this, because we can all relate so easily to it. Life is unpredictable, in ways that are sometimes good, and other times, devastating. But while getting the yummy cream-filled chocolate is always wonderful, one has not truly lived until they’ve reached into the box and gotten the icky hard jelly thing, too. It’s a yin and a yang, a balance of sorts, but one we usually would just as soon do without.
I come closer to thinking that life is like a Chronicles of Narnia Movie. You’re just sitting around, doing the same old thing, when suddenly you open a wardrobe, expecting nothing out of the ordinary, and find yourself in a place you never even dreamed could exist. You get caught up in an adventure that’s so amazing, so magical, that you can’t even believe it is happening to you.
And then, wham, suddenly it’s all over. You’re right back where you were before, like the door had never been opened at all, wondering what, if any of it, was even real.
Love can be this way. To love another person fully and completely can be an amazing, magical adventure that you can’t even believe is happening to you. When you are loved in return, it is like standing in the sunlight. You have this other being whose soul connects directly to yours; who cares about you just as much as you care about them; who would move heaven and earth just to spend a moment with you. Nothing on earth is better.
But life is as unpredictable as reaching into a box of chocolates. You can be standing in the sunlight one moment, so warm and happy that you think you just might burst, and then, in the blink of an eye, a cloud passes over, and everything changes. You can’t see the sun at all anymore, and the world is suddenly a very cold place. You’re left alone to fight the chill, and you feel so lost that all you can do is stand before the wardrobe door, opening and closing it, hoping against hope for some sign of light…but days pass, and still all you see inside are coats and shadows. And your heart breaks over and over again, like delicate glass being shattered upon stone. Just as there is no feeling on earth greater than having love, there is equally no feeling on earth worse than losing it.
So you do the only thing you can… you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and you stop opening the door, because you know now there isn’t going to be anything on the other side. And it takes a tremendous will to do this, more strength than you have ever had to call upon yourself to have, because there’s nothing you want more than to keep looking for some sign of hope. To keep believing that the next time you open the door, you’ll be back to that magical place, back to the love, back to the sun shining on your face. But there is a part of you inside that knows you deserve much more than being left alone to wait and wonder. You know you don’t deserve the coldness that you’re being dealt. And this knowledge steels you, gives you strength to let go.
Letting go is excruciating. It’s like a birthing process, or a rebirthing process, I should say. There are tears and pain, yes, but in the end, you find your own sun, which isn’t dependent upon the affections of another person. You find that you can be your own source of light, and that no one can keep you in a dark, cold place unless you allow it.
Life is like a box of chocolates, and often we find ourselves holding the icky jelly one while every one else seems to be enjoying the good stuff. But this is all part of the journey of being human. We can build walls around our hearts that are impenetrable, yes, and that will keep us from hurting…but it will also keep us from living fully and completely. It will keep out the magic that makes life beautiful. And it will keep us from believing in, or achieving, the extraordinary lives that we are meant to have.
When we find ourselves back in that same place we were before our wonderful adventure, it’s quite an awful feeling. It doesn’t hold the same appeal as it did before, and it could never compare to where we’ve been. And so we make the obvious choice. We move forward, away from both places. That is the only way.
Don’t try to go back to where you were, and for Goodness sake, don’t stand in front of the wardrobe door forever, waiting on someone else to decide that you are or aren’t worth the effort. Embrace a new path. Embrace the knowledge that you already have, that anything truly is possible. You’ve known this all along. If someone else does not believe, if they can easily cast you aside because they are afraid or unwilling to put forth what it takes to have an amazing, magical adventure, then it is them, not you, who has slammed shut the wardrobe door. But they are really only shutting themselves out of Narnia. You’ve never stopped believing, which means, in time, you will find yourself in the midst of magic again.
Extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people, and the extraordinary can’t exist without the belief first that it should. Most people don’t believe they deserve the extraordinary, and that is why most people lead typical, regular lives, dreaming of a Narnian adventure, but in the end, lacking the guts to actually pass through the wardrobe door when it opens. But magic is real. The extraordinary is possible. And the power to create it is here, among us, within us. It exists in the sense that we either believe in it…or we don’t.
The year’s end is a symbolic, powerful time for letting go of hurt, for beginning again, for following new paths, for dreaming and believing that yes, anything is possible. And writing is a powerful tool for capturing a little magic with words, for in the end, we create what is possible with first our thoughts, then our words, and then our actions.
As one year comes to a close and another begins, don’t mourn for what you’ve lost. Celebrate what you still have. Celebrate it with a poem, a painting, a journal entry, a song or a ceremony if you wish. But celebrate it all the same. There are other wardrobes, other adventures waiting, possibly even greater magic than what you’ve already known.
So as 2010 comes to a close, let go of those who so easily have let go of you, and you will find your own sunshine. Let 2011 be the best year you’ve created yet, and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate, because you are worth it. And what you will come to realize, in the end, is that the loss isn’t yours at all. Because it isn’t you who is closing the door on what is possible. Your doors are just beginning to open, because you still believe in magic. :-)