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Life Plan? What To Do When Life Moves On

life plan

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If I read a book I turn the page. That’s how it works with book reading. Turn the page, then another and another until there’s no more pages.

 

Call that story a page turner.

 

A life plan when life moves on without you feels the same. Maybe you didn’t turn the page, but it still happened.

 

Now what?

Pat Conroy said he read the first page of Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel over and over and over. Then he read it some more. Old Pat had trouble turning the page on Wolfe.

 

Here’s what he found so fascinating:

 

A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough;
but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into
the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the
cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark
miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.
Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into
nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four
thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.
The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin
of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by
a Georgia slattern, because a London cut-purse went unhung. Each
moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning
days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window
on all time.
This is a moment:

 

I read this as THE moment, but moment of what? Feeling the human condition, sensing our shared mortality, seeing through a window in time? Everything in one life plan?

 

Let’s go with everything, because that’s what’s on board the life train when it pulls out of the station and you’re not on it.

 

Don’t misunderstand the train thing. It’s not really a train, plane, or automobile, none of that. Instead it’s you, and me, and everyone else, who shut down at a pivotal moment. That’s no life plan to speak of.

 

Like the student held back not because they aren’t smart enough, but too undisciplined to actually apply themselves, life needs application. So we apply ourselves the best we can.

 

That’s the get out of jail card, “doing the best I can.” Who can complain after hearing that?

 

But you didn’t do the best you could, didn’t give a moment of time to acknowledge someone’s work, didn’t share an insight because you’re afraid to look stupid.

 

Read the blueprint above a few times and get a feel for destiny, a shared experience. Be a good listener, a patient teacher, a better friend.

 

You shall see begin in Crete four
thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.

 

You will if you pay attention. Life goes on with or without you, me, and Thomas Wolfe, and Pat Conroy.
About David Gillaspie
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