You know how sometimes you can hear an old story and it suddenly says something brand new to you? Casablanca leaves you cold when you're in your twenties and ten years later, you feel it. You read Cinderella to the kids over and over again, but one bedtime you hear a new nugget of truth in the archetypes of heroine and helpers, hindrances and happy ending.
It happened to me this week. I'm sure you've heard this story or a variation of it:
The student seeking enlightenment goes to the teacher and asks, "Isn't there some other way besides doing all these dishes?"
The teacher replies, "Grasshopper, do you see that door? You must walk through it and cross the room within to the door on the other side."
"What is the difficulty?"
"Inside the room you will find all your darkest fears, all the horrors and anxieties and pain that you keep deep within you."
"How can I do this?" asks the student.
"Keep your feet moving," says the teacher. "And know that none of it is real."
It's a story as old as time, as familiar as "you are your own worst enemy." A story as classic as FDR's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," as pop culture as Luke Skywalker's vision of fighting Darth Vader, whose mask falls away to reveal the face of Luke himself.
But this time, for some reason, I believe it; I got it. What are these fears I've been fighting? Oh they're legion. The kids are not alright, my book is not going to happen, the neighbors must think I have Tourette's.
But today I know none of this is real. My kids are not just alright, they are magnificent; the book is so happening and I should be so lucky if the neighbors chalk it all up to Tourette's.