My word of the day.
But it didn’t start out that way. I awoke in the darkness for the fourth day in a row cursing Daylight Savings Time and the way it thrusts me back into a cycle of waking before the sun just when my mood has begun to lift. I awoke to another day of Bubba in a different state altogether, missing his solid presence next to mine in bed and calculating the hours until the airplane’s wheels touch down in this city with him inside.
And then I got to kiss my girls awake. Both of them, teenage-years-be-damned. I got to lean over Lola’s warm, round cheeks that won’t lose their plumpness for another year perhaps and brush my lips across them, murmuring to her that it is time to get up. I headed upstairs to stumble over books and underwear strewn across Eve’s floor, making my way to a precarious perch on the side of her bed and press my lips firmly on her forehead, oily with hormones and sleep. I am so blessed.
We all did what we do, packing lunches, gathering homework and water bottles, steaming milk, walking the dog around the block, sliding in to the car for the short ride to school.
As soon as the girls shut the car doors, I flipped on NPR (they can’t stand to listen to it in the morning whereas I consider it breakfast) and heard that a Senate committee has approved an assault weapons ban that will now head to a full vote. I listened to a story about the rape case in Ohio and another about the scores of individuals perhaps wrongly convicted because of tainted or fabricated evidence in a Massachusetts lab. And I wondered…
What if we are all doing the things we are supposed to be doing right now?
What if humanity is pushing along at precisely the pace it needs to be?
I don’t mean to say that there isn’t injustice or incredible suffering in the world for so many people.
I don’t mean to imply that I don’t care about all of it.
But when I look around I see so much beauty and love. I truly feel an emergence of a better place, better working conditions for so many, more equality for individuals who have historically been disenfranchised, more awareness of our collective connection to each other. And we couldn’t have that without all that has gone before. We can only work at a certain pace to effect change and I believe that there is a building of energy and will like a tide coming in to sweep the beach. And just like a tide, it will retreat and build again and again.
I see people all over working to make their own lives better and to improve the lives of others and I am buoyed. It is only by accepting the place where we find ourselves that we can hope to move forward. Alicia wrote on her blog about some of the real challenges she faces in her everyday life with a special needs daughter, and she wrote about it with equanimity. She wasn’t railing against her daughter or whatever “god” or “fate” set her up to have the unique behaviors she has, she was simply accepting, sitting back and looking at her own life with clear eyes. I know so many other parents who do that every day – Elizabeth, Carrie, Michelle. They absolutely have to marshal their strength to fight for things from time to time. They are all amazing advocates for their children and tremendously committed to finding resources and pushing for change and I am in awe of them all. But they can’t be effective unless they first understand who they are fighting for. And that takes equanimity. The ability to look at your life for what it is and find the beauty mixed in with the difficulty. The ability to seek the eye of the tornado and sit there while all swirls around you, knowing that it simply can’t be any different than it is right now, but it will most certainly be different over time.
Today I am finding solace and peace in knowing that the world is what it is right now because that’s where it is supposed to be. Progress comes on the heels of many feet marching together for the long haul, but we can’t walk if we don’t recognize the ground we’re standing on.