That you were born

and you will die.

That you will sometimes love enough

and sometimes not.

That you will lie

if only to yourself.

That you will get tired.

That you will learn most from the situations

you did not choose.

That there will be some things that move you

more than you can say.

That you will live

that you must be loved.

That you will avoid questions most urgently in need of

your attention.

That you began as the fusion of a sperm and an egg

of two people who once were strangers

and may well still be.

That life isn’t fair.

That life is sometimes good

and sometimes better than good.

That life is often not so good.

That life is real

and if you can survive it, well,

survive it well

with love

and art

and meaning given

where meaning’s scarce.

That you will learn to live with regret.

That you will learn to live with respect.

That the structures that constrict you

may not be permanently constraining.

That you will probably be okay.

That you must accept change

before you die

but you will die anyway.

So you might as well live

and you might as well love.

You might as well love.

You might as well love.

-The Fact of Life by Padraig O Tuama from Sorry for Your Troubles

Life seems to be turning over more questions right now than answers. Who are we when we sit still with ourselves? What is it we consider essential to our living and flourishing? What is it that is broken in me, in you and in us as a culture? It is a time to wrestle with questions we would rather not ask and make meaning we were not necessarily seeking. 

As O Tuama reminds us so little of our lives are permanent, life is full of sudden changes, often out of our control. In the midst of the unpredictable and chaotic moment we are in, we can not control much but we can control how we respond. That we can survive well, despite its unfairness, that we can love and make art and meaning and connection in the midst of what is unfair and scary is a gift. 

Today I am going to make a list of what I can control and throw out the list of what I can’t control. And maybe make a little art and call a friend and find the beauty in the chaos. 

Be Kind,


To Find a Steady Center is a daily poem and meditation to offer a short, good word to those who are anxious, fearful or lonely and who might need a gentle word of hope, encouragement or perspective during social distancing. 

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