Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Good Spots"

Life isn't all clean and neat, wrapped up in a nice package with a bow all ready to be opened and enjoyed. Life is messy. Life is a constant roller coaster ride. Life is...well, life!

I know this isn't that profound and it's nothing new. People know life is messy and I know many writers have probably said just what I said, although I can't think of any off the top of my head right now. Anyway, the point I'm trying to get at is that you can't wait for life to get all wrapped up nice and pretty to start living it. You can't tip-toe around the messiness looking for a clean, neat place to land. You have to dive into the middle of it, mess and all, and wade through the muck and trudge through the puddles to get to the good spots. And the "good spots" are not necessarily the neat, clean, tidy places in life. For some that may be too boring and really no fun at all. For some people the "good spots" may be in the recovery from the muck - the kinds of things that come out of going through hell and making it out the other side: friendships, wisdom, a great appreciation for the little things, and a belief that even the messy times are worth living. And even in the middle of our despair or longing for a life other than the one we have, we can find little mini "good spots".

I spent a day trudging up to Logan Airport in Boston only to find out the flight I'm going out on has been cancelled due to inclement weather, not be able to get another flight out that day, have to trudge (of course trudge is not literal - I did not walk to and from Logan yesterday - and, yes, this really did happen to me yesterday) back home, making my dad drive two round-trips to the airport shuttle bus station to drop me off and then pick me up, later in the same day have my car die on me (it was revived after a little time to dry out), and do all this on less than two hours of sleep. I went through all that yesterday and grumbled about much of it but today I'm at the airport awaiting my first flight out at the beginning of another long day and I'm watching the sun rise, sitting in a pretty comfy rocking chair (who knew Logan had a few rocking chairs at this gate!?!), sipping some coffee, and getting a chance to write what flows out my fingertips and onto the screen. This is one of the "good spots", and I don't mean physically. I could still be annoyed and mad that I couldn't fly out yesterday, but I really could only be angry at Mother Nature, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't take complaints, especially since we're kind of destroying her. Or I could be mad at the airline for not announcing that the flight was cancelled early enough so that I wouldn't have made the trip to the airport yesterday. But what is that going to accomplish? Is that going to make me magically turn back time and be able to fly out on my intended flights, or at least my intended travel day? Of course not. All it will do is use up my energy, stress me out, and make me miserable. And I really don't want to be the reason I'm miserable. So I'll find that silver lining.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not wearing rosy colored classes. I was ticked off about the travel issues yesterday, and then having my car not start was just the icing on the cake, but yesterday is over and done, I'm getting ready to fly out today, in about 12 hours I'll be in Oregon (although waiting at the airport for my sister to pick me up - I'll have to wait there for about an hour but that's okay), and I'll be out there on vacation for more than a week. So why should I be angry now? Life is messy and we don't always get what we want. But you know what they say - "You can't always get what you want but you might just find you get what you need." Maybe I needed the day yesterday to do other things - run a few errands, bake cookies for my dad as a thank-you for all the driving and everything he did yesterday (although, had I flown out as intended he wouldn't have done the extra driving but it's still nice to be able to do something to say "thank you"), make sure I have everything I need for the trip (although I ended up forgetting my IV pump at home so my dad's mailing it to me overnight and hopefully I'll have it tomorrow), transfer my stuff from one semi-broken backpack to a different more comfortable backpack, and just be home with my family a little bit longer. I don't know the reasons, and I don't know that there always is a reason for things like this, but there doesn't have to be a reason. With or without a reason behind it, the silver lining is there...sometimes you just have to look harder...and maybe squint a little bit. Some things just suck, but I think we can make them suck a little less by not dwelling on the things that make us unhappy and focusing on the little things that make us smile.