It is pretty common knowledge that the power to be happy lies within us. That the way to open our eyes and our hearts to the blessings we have been given is so simple, we can be tempted to make it too complex. We can make our happiness dependent on others, on conditions on the far side of our own skin.
It is also common knowledge that life is a journey, a passage to understanding. It can be tempting to combine those two ideas and feel that happiness lies somewhere on down the road. As if choosing happiness now, this minute, is premature.
Almost everyone I know is pedaling as fast as they can. They are juggling obligations and commitments, scheduling in some time for "fun" if they feel they deserve it. I have been hurrying, myself, since last winter, working on that Ghoultide project you may have heard me talk about (my close friends and family may be praying never to hear the "g" word again). I have muscled it in directions that I found out were dead ends, picked it up like a heavy stone and hurried back down that road to try another fork. Much of the past few months, I kept my head down, carrying that self imposed load. It was completed last week, and since then I am kind of floating along, feeling guilty that I'm not busy with something important (don't worry, I am chuckling at what I think is important). Bob and I have been home most of the time, as he had his knee replaced on Friday. In the quiet moments when nothing is happening, I have begun to unwind. And to think. And to pray. And to be grateful.
We live outside of town again, and though I didn't really want to leave the city when we moved last spring, I have come to love the quiet and the stars and the little critters out here. And the fresh air! Until this week, I drove the 80 mile round trip nearly every day, my blood pressure rising as I entered the giant ant hill of activity and traffic that is the big city. Depending on your nature, that bustle can be invigorating, or daunting. Now I look at my little car and am glad I'm not climbing inside for the 70mph highway trek. I am on a different road. And this one has flowers along side.
There may be nothing new under the sun. Revelations may need to be broken and poured on my spirit over and over in slightly different ways before I can see them. I'm not really dumb, I'm just a human who keeps falling back into the habit of thinking I can control any of those things on the far side of my skin. I can do my best work (and even that can be a comparative trap!) and then muster up the courage to put it out there in the wide world, but I can't control anyone else's reaction to it. I can choose to let that reality keep me from trying, but I know better. I know that the best way to make sure no one likes it is to keep it to myself. But the truth is, I have no desire to spend time creating anything just for myself. So, I'll do that thing that risks rejection. I am compelled by my own nature. So, I remind myself that writing is not a burden, it is an opportunity. It is part of me, and it is ever evolving.
This morning in my quiet time I was reminded again that today is my day. Though I love family gatherings most of all things, I don't need to wait until a birthday dinner or a holiday to be truly happy. I don't need to run toward the next fun thing, blinders firmly in place, ignoring the blessing of this ordinary Wednesday. Moving forward, heading on down the road, does not have to preclude me from seeing this spot in time with the vision I only have when standing still.
I think we must all be trained to think that accomplishing something with our lives gives our time on earth meaning. Getting there faster, in the best car, with the most accolades is hollered from the rooftops as the way to be someone. Someone worthy of admiration. But I think about some of the people I have loved the most in my life, and I see the way that they treated others and themselves was the thing that made them someone. Someone. They were on the road, too. They kept getting older every day, but with a grace born of gratitude. I believe they woke up on an ordinary Wednesday and said thank you. Wednesday wasn't a blur on the way to the important days.
I'm grateful for the journey. I am. I am grateful that I have been given people to love, projects to fulfill the need inside to say something, grateful for the wisdom of others on this road. And today, on Wednesday, Nov 12th, I am grateful that I can stand here a minute and breathe. Maybe I need to remember my road has scenic pullouts where I can just pause and look out there, beyond myself. The bend, the next hill to climb can wait.