There are lots of niggling questions that get to me through the day … You know the kind. Those little questions that a tiny, persistent voice keeps muttering at the back of your head.
Except the voice isn’t tiny; it’s bold and loud. It isn’t muttering; it’s clear and confident. And it isn’t at the back of your head; it’s at the fore of your heart. But you push it away – you make it tiny, dismiss it as a mutter, and you push it back. Because that’s much, much easier than having to listen to those niggling questions, than having to acknowledge that they need answers, than having to recognise that the answers you give are not the answers you live.
Why do we have these niggling questions? It isn’t the voice of doubt – the voice of doubt is critical, wheedling, and cruel. The niggling questions are stubborn, clear, and – in my case – repetitious. The same niggling questions have plagued me for years:
Is this really what you want to do?
What would you rather be doing?
Is this really where you want to be?
What’s stopping you?
What would make you happy?
Why aren’t you doing it?
I’ve spent years ignoring those niggling questions.
But in my darkest moments, I answer them.
Why, in my darkest moments, do I finally acknowledge and answer those niggling questions? Because suddenly I’ve hit rock-bottom. Hard, jagged-edged rock-bottom. I’m cut and bruised and aching and sore and I feel it is impossible to ever surface, so I indulge the niggling questions. I let them speak from my heart, and I answer them from my heart.
And then I surface.
I break through and I’m healed. I’m better. Stronger. Clearer.
I start to swim.
But a few strokes in I get caught up with the waves of life – of practicality, of distraction, of “other things”. And in my panic I push everything away and make those niggling questions fade into the background because I cannot handle them AND fight the waves.
Eventually, I fall.
And the cycle begins again.
What if I didn’t fight the waves? What if, on surfacing, I simply floated? Let the waves wash over me and see where they carry me, rather than trying to control them. Rather than letting them break me, maybe I should let them hold me.
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
I fall to the bottom: Been there … have even carved my name into a few rocks.
I drown: I feel like I’m drowning every day that I battle the waves.
I float off the edge of the world: What an adventure to be had …