From a book I loved in my childhood and still love now:
Now I could use the sword Gull, he thought. But since all I have is my sheath-knife, I’ll have to make do with that. I can’t let the snake eat the old woman. And he rushed forward, waving his knife.
from “The Maiden in the Castle of Rosy Clouds,” by Harald Östenson,
Great Swedish Fairy Tales, illustrated by John Bauer
At the last moment the sword he needs but does not know how to get materializes in his hands, and the young man saves the old woman. Each of the things he needs, in fact, he finds only in the middle of an act of faith.
* * *
So imagine Heroic, setting out on a journey because of everything that should not be that is. And the journey is much harder and much longer than she (or maybe he) imagined. And he (or maybe she) keeps getting distracted—by old crones bearing strange gifts, by animals in need, by side adventures that make no sense. And doing the right thing does not seem to get her or him anywhere closer to setting things right. And he (or she) gains allies but not answers. And in the end, of course, all those things that kept Heroic’s path anything-but-straight were exactly what was necessary to face the giant/the dragon/the troll.
* * *
And what if, instead of looking at how untidy a life is, how it refuses to match up to whatever you think it’s supposed to match up to, you looked for real at the cracks and tears, the flaws and interruptions and stumblings, and made it your job to read those things, to listen deeply, and tell the story they tell you?