I posted yesterday about the frustration of seeking the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You really want to believe that it exists, but you know that no matter how diligently you pursue that end, you're never going to get there. Then last night, as I was singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to my sleepy children, them looking up at me, content from their beds, warm and comfortable, loved, I considered that maybe I can find some other goal in chasing rainbows. I so often forget that the destination is the end of something, and it's really the pursuit that gives life meaning.
Sure, I want to be in a better place in the end, any end. My dad recently had a minor health scare, although it never feels minor when you're sitting in the ER while the strongest people, your parents, are weak, sick or scared. Before I had seen him with my own eyes, to be able to assess how he was really doing, I sat spinning in "what if" scenarios. Beyond the very obvious when someone you love is sick, I kept getting stuck at, "If we were nearing his end on this earth, I would never forgive myself that I was last able to show him this current me. This mess." I so badly want to emulate all of the good traits that make up my dad. He's kind, motivated, understanding, joyful, loyal, admired and so many other things. It pains me to know how far I have to go to get there and that the path I am on doesn't seem to go forward.
But, I am learning to forgive myself for my shortcomings. I don't believe it's my fault that I have mental illnesses, although it's much harder for me to let go of responsibility for all of the havoc they have caused. I know that this mess is not my end. Thankfully, it isn't the end of anything, it's just the beginning of whatever is next. When I think of the aspirations I have, wanting to make my father proud, wanting to make my children proud, wanting to contribute to my communities, to change lives, I know that the better way to chase rainbows is to be grateful to see them at all and chase the simple joy that brings, instead of the "end of it." There is no end of a rainbow to reach, like there is no end to reach in life, until death, but there is magic in rainbows and there is magic in life. I see it in my children's faces. I hear it in my father's laughter from the hospital bed at 12:00 a.m. the night before a transatlantic flight. I note it in the thanks I received when I brought my mom coffee for the second time. I feel it when I do something I can be proud of. I feel it when I look at all the things that scare me and have hope that it will get better. It will get better. It has to and it will.