This morning, I woke with a fresh crop of spider bites, the first mosquito nibbles of the year, and a steaming load of chagrin.
In the dark and jumpiness of a spider-welted early morning, resignation preyed upon my joy – any hope – that had survived the soul’s harsh winter.
Honestly, I felt cursed and night was perfect theater to replay a legion of failures.
By morning’s first light, my soul lay gasping – enfeebled by shame, weariness, and too much bitter evidence of an ineffectual life.
Exhausted and scratchy, I put feet to floor, coffee to brew, and the day on “start.” For the first time in years, I squinched my hair up in loose pigtails and set about to write my surrender to mediocrity on the Hobbit House porch.
The first draft was a harangue of bitter disappointment and sheepish admission of a less-than life.”Resistance is futile” and “assimilation is inevitable” seethed into every line.
Let’s face it, we don’t need to hunt for our cultural celebration of inanity when major news outlets headline the Kardashians over Russia’s occupation of Crimea, yesterday’s Nigerian massacre, and the Solomon Islands quake.
But as earnestly as I tasted this blundering breakfast fare, I couldn’t pass it along.
We have no need for another voice testifying to all that is lacking in this world.
Empty of life words, I sat and listened to the cars rumble over the cobblestones.
A pair of rabbits played chase around the old ivy’d tree stump in the yard.
A squirrel worked on its nest by fetching leaves to stuff in the attic of the house across the way.
Soon, my brotherly pal, Dave, pedaled into view at the foot of the Hobbit House stairs. I offered him coffee and we sat and sang the praises of the people we love and lamented our penchant to embrace our failings over our many joys.
He said a friend had told him “creative people always struggle.” Though we creatives may make it to one more summit, we see only the un-summitted craggy heights ahead.
Dave-O and I agreed that it is time to celebrate the peaks on which we now stand and take joy in this good day.
Is it foolish to feel pride in an early-morning run of jumping walls, slinging around lampposts, playing hopscotch on a stranger’s front walk, swinging dangerously high, and eventually flinging far from the zipline onto my back in the school yard’s sand?
Are we limiting ourselves when we relish the vaunted over the simple?
I’ve climbed plenty peaks and glaciers and few things are more delight-filled to me than crawling up mountains or skiing rip-snort down them.
But everyday life is filled with getting up, pulling on clothes, kissing the ones we love as we leave for work, TPS reports and meetings; laundry, and paying bills, too.
At the risk of sounding self-serving, perhaps it is a great beauty to imperfectly raise a family (and a few chickens) and to cultivate friendships – memories – in the course of each ordinary day.
And though I will likely always struggle against the feeling of “less than” and “coulda, shoulda, woulda” – perhaps my greatest contribution to life is to live it as this pig-tailed, plumpish, goofball.
It could be there is no greater height than this for any of us and all of celebrity and applause is a distraction in our life’s-work of loving and living well.
Thinking on this and searching for the North Star.
Bonus: This line from “Bruce Almighty” has followed me all morning, but I couldn’t find a place to put it above.
“Parting your soup is not a miracle, Bruce, it’s a magic trick. A single mom (or dad) who’s working two jobs, and still finds time to take her kid to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says no to drugs and yes to an education, that’s a miracle. People want Me to do everything for them, but what they don’t realize is, they have the power.”