Every now and then, amidst the unpredictability of life, I find myself standing before my bookshelf, eager to make sense of the world by arranging my books in a spectral cascade. From deep blues of oceanic adventures to fiery reds of passionate romances, I once believed this kaleidoscope could lend some order to the surrounding chaos. Yet, as I squinted to discern whether J.K. Rowling’s spine was more cerulean or cobalt, an epiphany hit: life, much like my rainbow bookshelf, doesn’t always fit neatly into a genre or hue.

We all have a penchant for neatly sequenced narratives. Perhaps it’s the comfort of predictability or the aesthetic appeal. But if there’s one thing both my bookshelf and comedian Pete Holmes have in common, it’s this enlightening tidbit: “Life doesn’t make sense!” A statement so simple, yet profound. It’s the kind of truth you’d expect from a Zen monk or a toddler – or in this case, a funny man with a microphone.

Holmes, in his comic brilliance, doesn’t merely make us laugh. He encapsulates the shared conundrum of trying to alphabetize our experiences or color-coordinate our destinies. But if the universe were a library, it wouldn’t come with an index. More likely, it’d be an enthralling choose-your-own-adventure book, sprinkled with a few plot twists.

So, when life hands you a plot twist, say, in the form of an unexpected memo or a surprise downpour, instead of trying to shelf it in your “Why Now?” section, why not just marvel at its unique storyline? Maybe even chuckle at its audacity. After all, the most heartfelt stories are often found between the lines of our well-laid plans.

Letting go of our obsession with order, whether it’s the sequence of life events or the arrangement of a literary collection, might just be our ticket to serenity. For in the unpredictable margins of our life’s narrative, between the blacks, whites, and all the hues, we find not just stories, but ourselves.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.