Here's a basic struggle: doing that thing I am called to do, when I am called to do it. I'm not really talking about things like homework or chores or assignments. I'm talking about those points in life where somebody greets you at the yawning chasm of the unknown and says, "It's your turn."
I have not always returned that greeting enthusiastically. I distinctly recall being in line to jump off the three-meter diving board of a swimming pool in Tucson, AZ. I have never before so appreciated the magnitude of cubic space that separated me from the cold impact below. I couldn't do it. I cried. I asked to get down. The slow way. The safe way.
Through the turns in my life I have arrived at a familiar but uneasy relationship with irreversible moments. I learned that nothing is worse than stepping back down the ladder once you have climbed up it. That rule established, all forms of hesitation, worrying and tribulation feel like so much self-abuse. Confronted with life's one-way doors, the inner voice that says, "Get it over with!" wins the day. No matter how bad the possible consequences might be, none of them are worse than the ignominy of giving up, or the paralysis of indecision.
I am not advocating recklessness. Better divers than me do not hesitate to jump--that doesn't make them careless, just bold.
And so now life approaches, and it is not governed by my adolescent imagination. It marches inexorably toward me, relentless, obscure, vast, and not wholly reassuring. I arrive unprepared. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not ready for this! I have no guarantees that this will end as I would have wished.
Mistakes will be made. So be it! Off I go! And God help me.