Why am I writing all this? I have had OCD for as long as I can remember. It hasn't always been particularly virulent, but the tendency has always been there. It has an unwelcome habit of flaring up at crucial junctures and transitions in my life, causing me endlessly to doubt myself and to navigate a mental labyrinth in which I question everything I thought I knew. It sometimes threatens to derail everything good in my life (of which there is much) by causing me to question whether it is good. It is a vicious and unproductive form of mental gymnastics, spurred in large part by a terror of going against what 'the god who loves me' might have chosen for me. (This is a metaphor - I am not religious.) In other words, it is a toxic form of the 'grass is always greener' syndrome.
The anxious brain, in its best-intentioned misguidedness, tries to protect us from the possibility of error. For me, the path to liberation lies in dispensing with the very notion of 'error' in the first place. Thus, what we have, instead of a choice between a right and a wrong path, is a choice between love and fear. As psychologist David Richo writes: "Love is a total yes. Fear is no. Love gives us access to the unconditional being that is our endless potential." And notice that, for the man in Dennis's poem, his past is foreclosed but his future is one of just such potential: he can either choose to write to his erstwhile friend, or keep him shut out; he can either embrace the actuality of his life, or live in the realm of unknown and unknowable (to him) possibilities.
Richo goes on to state: "Fearlessness brings with it the conviction that everything in our lives is part of our destiny, exactly what we need in order to become who we really are. Not only is it all right to be myself, it is really alright to let events be themselves." The 'loving god' of Dennis's poem is not really loving at all, if love implies acceptance of what is as opposed to what might have been. At any rate, the words of poet Derek Walcott spring to mind: "Sit. Feast on your life."