Small Moments


Life is not always kind. We don’t always get what we want. We don’t even get what our parents want for us, which would at least make them happy. Sometimes everything goes south at once: The longed-for love doesn’t show up or goes away; the dream job is given to an inexperienced, two-faced brownnoser; the dog dies; the sink clogs; the snap of your jeans pops open when you bend down to pick up the hefty stack of bills on the mat and you’re left standing there, thinking, “Oh My God, is this my life?  The best part of my run was back when I was 25. From here on out, I just have to slog through.”

All of us—even the darkest and unluckiest of us—get  particular moments, those brief, unexpected times when the stars do more than align; they communally redirect their light expressly to illuminate the value of our wee, earthly existence.

This someone sees you, down to your intelligence, your fear of being alone, your ability to whistle on pitch…down to your core.  There is somebody out there who gets it—it being you.

You get it.  The time in life when you first begin to gain the kind of wisdom that will allow you to feel for a friend when she has lost a father or gotten separated, or is diagnosed with breast cancer, not because you have lost a father or gotten separated but because you have lost someone or something and the experience opened a door of genuine understanding. You are now able to hold hands with another person and connect with them at the very time they feel most alone.

You are spared.  You’re reaching for that leaf in the gutter and the ladder falls and you land in the bushes unscathed.   In other words you didn’t get hurt….one more day you get to live.

Somebody comes back into your life.  Oh boy, this is a tough one sometimes.  One of the worst things in life is that people leave—and worse, they leave you with the feeling that (1) you didn’t do the thing required to make them stay, or (2) you did the thing that made them go, or (3) if time stopped, you would leave instead and make them feel all the terrible, painful crap you’re feeling. But at some point, one of those leave-ers comes back. Maybe they want to start over. Maybe they want to say they’re sorry. Maybe they want to say hi. Or…maybe they just want to move down the block and yell at their bleached, Botoxed wife at dinner parties—allowing you to kiss the ground with gladness that they did not ask you to marry them your senior year of college.

You are right.  So many times in life we are right and wish we weren’t (You’re going to lose your job! Your husband is cheating on you). And then there are the glorious, life-affirming moments, such as when I told my boyfriend the glue stick was not a ChapStick…and he chose to disagree with me.

You are loved.  Love seems to be a given. It seems so obvious. All these people are in your life with the responsibility to love you: parents, sisters, spouses, nieces, babies, friends. A few will fail you, but most won’t. And yet each time they express that love, it’s unique. It’s so insanely specific, what the other will adore about you and what you will adore about him (or her).   The simple unquestioning love of children.

Who is it who loved or loves or will love you? The guy  who left an anonymous note on your car in 12th grade? The kitten in a shoebox you stumbled on at the garbage dump? The funny, laid-back, occasionally loud man—you haven’t met yet but who is perfect for you?

It may be that you haven’t had all  of these moments yet. But the odds are that you have, and—here is the sweet part of the deal—it’s very possible, if not extremely likely, that you will get the chance to have each of these moments over and over and over,  but each time differently. Each time it will be new and astonishing once again. 

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