Round about the time my first marriage ended, then after the love of my life left town, and when the mad flirtation with the 23-year-old waiter wound down to its wretched end, I began to wonder in earnest how my life would turn out. This was about 15 years ago, but it might as well be today. We all do this a lot – wonder how our particular story will turn out. This kind of wondering can be the chief occupation of our lives. As I was busy wondering how the drama would play out, all I had to work with, in terms of leading characters, were the people I had already known. All I had to work with, in terms of events, was my past experience. All I had to work with, in terms of the story, was my stunningly unoriginal imagination. Still, even with those splintered bones and rotten dregs, I busied myself night and day stewing about who, from all the people I had ever known, was going to leap out of some past sad scenario, have a thrilling change of heart, swoop into the present, and escort me into some fantasy happy ending.
Something did happen about that time in my life. My whole life happened about that time in my life, but it involved no one from the past, nowhere I’d been, nothing I’d done before and no version of anything I’d imagined. We don’t ever know how our lives will go, but they go, and by and large, they go much better than they might if we were the authors of our own worn-out life story.
We never know.
And so, this particular Buddhist suggests, whatever your chosen religious dogma or absence thereof, it’s a damn good idea round about now to believe in Santa Claus.