The post below first appeared on a now discontinued blog on December 7, 2013
At the time of writing, I was house sitting in Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria.
Two days ago the weather was wild. A Severe Weather warning had been issued, and structural damage was expected over a huge swathe of Britain. At a critical moment the other morning it was clearly a time to decide to stay indoors, batten down the hatches and sit it out. But I was soon to travel to stay with somebody close to death, my guests were already packing their car to return to Sussex.
The wind was howling, and the rain was horizontal! What to do? This was one of those moments when whichever way one turns, there’s no easy solution. Plans can be changed, appointments rescheduled, but on that wild morning my hand wouldn’t lift the phone to cancel my commitment, and it was also clear my guests intended to travel, no matter what. We were about to put ourselves in serious danger by driving out into this horrendous storm.
Dilemma is defined as being in a state of uncertainty or perplexity, especially when requiring a choice between equally unfavourable options. It’s an uncomfortable place to be, knowing a decision needs to be made, but a decision seems impossible to make. All the while, the roof tiles rattled louder and anxiety levels ran higher! And then the phone rang. After a brief conversation about the weather, the caller said softly, Gran died at 3.30 this morning. And with that piece of the jigsaw in place the picture changed completely, my hand reached for the telephone to cancel my trip, and then I waved off the car bound for Sussex somehow confident that all would be well. And it was.
Being in a state of uncertainty and perplexity, can be an in-the-moment kind of thing as described above, or it can be an ongoing state lasting months or even years. Most often, life require that a step be taken, and then we need to be ready to adjust direction along the way. However, it’s simply not possible to know the complex web of factors that are exerting themselves as we walk our lives. Choosing to pause, to wait a moment – a day or longer can allow for the next step to show itself. As with the uncomfortable, storm ridden morning described above, I do believe we can trust unfolding conditions within the web of our lives to show us the way forward. Which might actually simply be to stay put and ride out ‘the storm’.
Onwards to 2023, may the ‘great earth’ be our witness as we tread lightly on the land.