Today I looked up and the sky and wondered “Where exactly are you taking me, God?”
Then I realized: it shouldn’t matter. I spend so much of my time imagining where I will be in one year, in five years, forward-thinking and planning and moving with intentionality. I really think I can make it, that somehow I will do exactly what it takes. The closer I get to each transition in life, the more pressure I feel to somehow make it work for myself. I get insecure, thinking I would be able meet my goals if only I weren’t… The closer I get, the more I realize how little control I actually have over my life. Too infrequently, I realize how good a reality that is.
We human beings don’t have freedom to initiate our lives, only to react what happens in them. Who knows why events play as they do?
All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.
It’s true. We are given time (i.e. life) and we should hold it as a gift. We aren’t given a career, we are given opportunities. Doors open and doors close. It doesn’t matter what cliched way we phrase it; we don’t make ultimate decisions.
The great Gatsby spends his life imagining that he is God and trying to manifest what he ultimately desires. In the end, he gets what he started out with: a vision of a blinking green light. No matter how hard he tries to grab it, it remains at a distance. For Gatsby, the light remains at one place, one fixation. For us, the light ought to keep drifting out to sea, pulling us with it into the Unknown.
This is what it means to proceed by way of gelassenheit, of “letting be.” Gelassenheit is an attitude, a humility, a trust in what is Ultimate to present what we need so that we can react appropriately. If that happens to be what we dream, fine. If it happens to be what we fear, fine–we will be given the strength to cope and succeed. In the end, what matters is not what we are doing so much as how we are following.
Follow well. It is the only way to have peace, and thus, to lead.
To lead = to set off out to sea.