Friday, September 19, 2008

Missing In Inaction

I've been intending to write something for over ten days, ten days during which I have consistently thought, "You know, I really need to write something." There is so much to say, which always becomes a problem for me. If there are too many things to write, I find my self drowning in an odd reverse-writer's block, my brain clogged with half-formed ideas and sentence fragments. For instance, right this minute I would like to write about:

1. The incredible generosity of everyone who bid on the Nielson auction (post to follow)
2. The Sarah Palin Situation and, more specifically,
3. An exploration of the oft-used term "radical liberal" and how I'd like to assert that me and my ilk are really more "cuddly" than "radical"
4. Ellie starting preschool
5. Melted cheese
6. Carnies
7. The State of Things

For now, I will speak to number 7. This year has been a real doozy for so many of the people we love. They have experienced enormous struggles, most of them too private to share here, and nearly constant difficulties. Add to this the grim national and word news (war! market collapse! poverty!) that becomes grimmer daily (more market collapse! plus hurricanes!) and things feel downright hopeless.

And then, just last week, our niece Isabel was admitted to the hospital because of complications from a common cold/flu virus and in the middle of the night on Monday, she coded. She stopped breathing. A nurse was standing right next to her bedside at the time and Isabel was resuscitated quickly. A bullet was dodged, and everyone should theoretically be relieved, but it was officially the Worst Bullet of them all, the scenario that no parent should have to entertain. She is doing well now and will stay in the hospital until she has a clean bill of breathing health. Her parents are, as always, moving forward and holding on tight.

IMG_6659

Somehow, in the middle of all of this pain and worry both local and global , my own little homelife remains remarkably uneventful. Suddenly this very modest existence in our very modest home in this modest town feels like an embarrassment of riches. We have these two healthy, thriving children that I can kiss and touch and embrace a hundred times a day. We have a home and steady income and food in the cupboards and two running cars. We can, occasionally, even afford to put fuel in those cars. We have our health. We love each other. We could not possibly ask for more, I think, and so I am filled with some serious mixed emotions.

I certainly don't think my life is an indication of God's favor since obviously there are millions of people of sterling character living with immeasurable pain right now. Nor do I take the suffering of others as a lesson or example by which I am to count my blessings and just hunker down, enjoying my good fortune. Like most people, I struggle with all of the eternal questions about the purpose of human suffering, particularly the suffering of innocents, and I certainly don't have any answers.

All I have is this: life is both exquisite and excruciating. Just as there are good times, there will always be bad and, for right now and for whatever reason, Byron and the children and I are in a good time. And because I don't know what else to do, I'm going to spread the good around in earnest, not because I am a person of sterling character, but because I am a person who needs to do this in order for the world to make one ounce of sense.

And, at the risk of going all O.W. up in here, I'm dubbing this my Up With People Year, though it will probably involve more kind words and baked goods and less Australian kids with acoustic guitars, but only because I'm not Australian and can't play the guitar, acoustic or otherwise. (Trust me: if I could play the guitar, you'd know about it and this blog would be nothing but YouTube videos of me working through the Springsteen canon, including at least ten different, uniquely heart-wrenching covers of Thunder Road. But, like I said: no guitar, so you can probably count that as a blessing.)

This year, I'm going to try a little harder. I'm going to give even when it feels like I can't. I'm going to say "yes" when I want to say "no." I am going to be more patient, slower to judge, quicker to forgive. I am not going to spend one minute whining about matters inconsequential. I am going to greet every day with all the hope and enthusiasm I can muster. I am going to put the full force of my being into motherhood. I'm going to do my best. I will take nothing for granted, wasting not and wanting not. I will help. All these things, they are the very least I can do.

And, so, I am officially Up With People, including all of you People planning to vote for a McCain/Palin ticket. You may be bumming me out, but you are still People, and I wish you nothing but the best. Plus, if your guy loses in November, I'll even make you a get-well-soon casserole, sucka. (And, now that I think about it, I will also refrain from calling you "sucka" again because! Up! With People! Yay!)

Thanks for reading, People. I hope you'll be along for the ride.

35 comments:

Liz said...

Wow. I am completely inspired by you. I will now carry your message to my (teensy) blog and into my life.

Up With People!

Lisa Milton said...

This is why I love me some beanpaste.

Your heart? It's oh so good.

So. I'm up with the people too. I'm on board. I'll try harder.

(I am glad Isabel is ok. How scary! It really is hard right now for many people I know too. Maybe I'm naive, but sometimes just do a little something kind makes all the difference.)

themuseasylum said...

What a great and inspiring post! Good on you, BeanPaste!

How scary about Isabel. Her poor parents have just been through one thing after another, not to mention her precious little self. I'm glad she is okay.

J. said...

Welcome back.

I say, Up with BeanPaste! And to Isabel getting up and out of hospital ASAP.

Kumbaya, Melanie, kumbaya.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

The stuff you just said? That's why you're my Secret Girlfriend #2.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

And Isabel is in my prayers.

Stacy (mama-om) said...

Exquisite and excruciating...

My prayers are with Isabel and her family.

Nancy said...

God bless Isabel...and you too!
:-)

MamaBird said...

As my son now says frequently, "Oh my GOODness!" I am so glad that Isabel is all right. You are officially Good People, Ms. Melanie. I am not sure the strange McCain/Palin voters really *are* people but cause I like you so much, I will take your word for it.

PicaboMama said...

You have struck the illusive balance between sincerity and humor that I am constantly striving for. Thanks.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You perfectly summed up my appreciation for my ordinary blessings.

iloveupstate.com said...

Awesome post!!! It's Friday night so I can't be more expressive than that...

Sheri said...

I'm so glad you're niece is ok, how scary.

I love your post,too often I get caught up with my own personal chaos to stop and count my many, many blessings. Thank you for the reminder.

standing still said...

I have those same moments of pure thankful joy, and it is always good to notice them.

amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

I am high from this. xo

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Your first few paragraphs really resonated with me, because I'm there too. Writer's congestion. I have so much to say, it's getting all clogged up inside my brain. Pretty soon, I'm going to turn infectious.

Beautiful post, by the way. If we could only fix our eyes on what we have instead of what we don't....

chris said...

Will continue to cover Isabel, her family, all who love her, in thoughts and prayers...

the cheap chick said...

Bless your heart - you make me happy when skies are grey. Love you best, Beanpaste!

~m said...

thanks for the heads-up on Isabel. We're still rooting for her...

And for a beautiful summary of how to live a life that is meaningful. It's so easy to fret about hypothetical problems that COULD happen and miss the fact that they haven't happened, that things are good in the now....

I'm for Up With People, too!

The Boddeker Blog said...

I'm sending good thoughts Isabel's way (and her parents!) Up With People (even the grumpy ones!)
P.S.- I've missed you!

Irene said...

Beanpaste, you inspire me with your infectious attitude, which I can get completely behind. I find it a refreshing way to look at things and I will adopt your slogan and manner of operation. I too will count my blessings and be positive and upbeat about what I have and not be negative about what is lacking, because, actually, nothing much is when you come right down to it. Up With People! That includes YOU who is reading this with doubt in your mind.

Claire B. said...

Good job, girl.

Heart full of blessings to Isabel.

family-of-five said...

aw, melanie, you warm my heart, in so many ways. and that reverse writer's block? I get that, too.

family-of-five said...

and p.s. please post about Carnies soon, preferably with photos.

The Girl Next Door said...

Wow. I'm sitting in my hotel room after 4 days of debauchery - um I mean a business conference - and gathering a second to myself to read my long lost bloggy friends before the "final ceremony", basically feeling oh-so-sorry for myself because - well - I guess b/c i'm just being a poopyhead. And I read this. And now I'm all "Yeah I have a good life and I am going to more positive too!" so thanks!

bluemountainsmary said...

I love you for this. Well I love you anyway (as much as someone who lives a million miles away from someone else and has never met them can!) but this is just good.

Plain and simple good.

Thank you!

Sweet Pepita said...

I'm sending you and your family good wishes and peace. You, my dear, are good people. And just by writing, by being who you are, gives us just a little boost (or, you know, a kick in the tush) to get through these days.

P.S. Did you read 'Eyeing the Flash'?
I can't wait to hear your carnie story, either!

i am very mary said...

I am so down with the Up.

Tonya said...

This brought tears to my eyes. You're so right on with the Up.
Thanks for the reminder.

Angie said...

Great post, Melanie.

Moxy Jane said...

Woowee, lots going on in here, Mama Paste (or is that Mama Bean?). I've been mulling over these things as well...so much to be thankful for, so much to be mind-boggled over. And all this side-taking and name-calling, all in the supposed defense of "right" and "wrong". I don't want to be on a "side"...or rather, to be told what side I'm supposed to be on.

I could use a radically liberal cuddle.

Tabitha in Bath said...

Amen.
As my son used to say when he was 3,
"I will God-Bless-you in my prayers!"
And Isabel
And People, even sucka's.
Hugs.

Amy the Mom said...

I'm amazed at how content I've been with the ordinary the last year and how my desire for "stuff" is diminishing. Probably part and parcel of turning 40, too.


This has been one of those years I'll be glad to see gone. I've witnessed so many people's lives turned upside down this past year, and like you, I wonder at my apparent good fortune. I'll be glad once the nastiness of the election is over, glad for the holidays to arrive and glad for a fresh start to the new year.

Sending love to Isabel and her parents.

Thanks for the attitude adjustment!

kimmomofeight said...

Perfectly perfect and wonderfully wonderful.

Up with ya and a chill down my spine for Isabel...scary stuff but so glad for guardian angels.

bipolarlawyercook said...

I love you. Very much.