“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.” – Steve Jobs [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]
I’ve shared my off-path story many times. From single mom of two under five years of age, to unemployment and broken, to broke, to finding faith in adversity so many times that I’m certain you don’t want a re-hash. But, today in meditation, I felt compelled to write about connecting dots. The quote above is so true. To trust in the future when you are lost in the now is scary. By some it seen as brave while others call it foolish. I was raised that you go to work when you are sick. You have a job lined up before you quit your current job. And you have a plan. I never knew how much adulting was exhausting until it was too late to stop wishing to be an adult. You too?
Are your dots from the past rose-colored, marked by traumatic memories, or rutted with regrets? Or is love and loss from the past seen as beautiful and unique memories. A Jenga game so delicately played so that the present moments aren’t lost in mourning of what could have been, what should have been, and what might be.
This morning I wrote a letter to someone in my past. I am unsure if I will truly send it, but it was cathartic. I remember years ago my mom called me to tell me I had mail at her house. A letter. From whom, I wondered? Thinking it was likely junk mail made to look personal. But it wasn’t. It was a letter from someone I’d gone to school with years ago. He apologized for things I didn’t remember him doing, but he certainly remembered enough to send a letter decades later. I couldn’t even tell you what the detail of that letter read, but I remember it making me happy to write him back with forgiveness.
Years ago, I received an email from a person who ruined a relationship that could’ve honestly ruined lives through immature games. She heartfelt apologized. I replied with a thank you. A thank you? Yes, a thank you, because if what hadn’t happened through that messed up situation, I wouldn’t have met Chuck. I wouldn’t have met his children and ultimately becoming a grandma. I probably wouldn’t be writing to you right now.
The dots from the past brought me here. Closed doors. Dots. Dashes, like that on a gravestone. All the in betweens.
While none of know how long that dash in between birth and physical death will be, there’s amazing things we can do by building a life filled with faith that the dots will connect. Despite grief. Despite being lost. And never forget that found comes after lost.
I believe in you,