Life is just so damn weird sometimes.

I think about these circuitous paths and wonder: how much is destiny?  How much is free will?  I won’t try to figure out this age-old theological debate tonight, but just putting it out there that I sit with these questions sometimes.

Last night was one of my mama-gone-wild Friday nights, and I was supposed to go to a Girl Talk concert in Baltimore.  So I drive up there, all terribly amped to go to the show.  I then park, suddenly realize that I cannot find my electronic key, and without it, I cannot lock my car.  I knew it had to be somewhere in the damn car or I would not have been able to drive, but I had no idea where it had disappeared to.  

I turned on all the dope lights in the car, scrounged on the floor, searched through my purse like a crazy woman, and could not turn up the key.  (Usually it is on my key ring, but it had been handed to me by Cesar, who parked it at the garage at work that day.)

After a good twenty minutes of searching, I gave up.  (Luckily, I had not get gotten my ticket.) My friends went to the show, feeling bad for me, and I headed home in a slightly pissy mood.  All the while I was aware that this was a pretty minor problem compared to the multitude of human suffering in the world, but that thought doesn’t tend to bring much consolation in those moments.

By the time I got home, it was 10:00 pm, and the night was still relatively young.  I tried to figure out a backup plan. I can’t seem to spend Friday nights at home - every fiber of my being insists that I be out of my house.   I got online, checked my email, and find one about a poetry slam taking place tonight, of all nights, at — 11 pm! I had plenty of time to get there.  But there was the problem of my lost key.

I decided to go out to the car just to check one more time and — voila– the key was on the driver’s side floor, in just about the most obvious place it could be.  Believe me, I had searched every inch of that floor in Baltimore.

It occurred to me that maybe I was supposed to go to this poetry slam.

The funniest thing about it was that earlier that day, I had been searching online for a Friday night open mic poetry event, and could not turn one up.  The slam email was sent out very late and so I never would have seen it in time if the whole Baltimore snafu did not occur.

I did go, and had the most amazing, wondrous time.  The poets were all sublime - their words vehicles for humor, insight, connection, political and social vision.  This was the world I used to inhabit, pre-Sami, quite intensely.  

It was also a world I rejected, in part, because when I started to meditate I became very sensitive to anger and felt that the whole scene was too “angry.”  But I have come to redefine my relationship to anger.  I’m not afraid of it, mine or others’, and I’m not afraid that my outrage is somehow “unspiritual.”  I don’t think it’s unspiritual to speak truth to power and to confront oppressive structures with words.  I am returning to feeling a call and a draw to do that.  

It feels energizing and powerful to go back to reclaim this self that got a bit buried in the early years of parenthood.

Last night was one of the semifinal competitions for the national slam championships, and while I don’t see that in the cards for me any time soon, listening to the poets I was so moved and inspired.  I chickened out about signing up last night, but I am going to go back next month and compete just for fun.  

That old yearning to perform, to connect to an audience with words, is here and clear.  I am grateful and excited and ready for whatever life holds, be it destiny or free will, or both.