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
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.
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.