First month~#44 vs. #45


It was Ann Patchett in her recent TIME tribute who woke me to my full sense of entitlement:

To a decent man.
A loving man.
An honorable man.

–as President.

“I just want to find some equilibrium, but I can’t,” said a white-haired woman on the mat across from mine. I walked with her down the steep stairs of our local yoga studio, and out into the parking lot.

“You’re in good company,” I said, and this seemed to comfort us both, but in a sad way.

“I just want to be happy and relaxed,” she added, spreading her arms wide, as she stood at her car door.

“I’ve been thinking the same things,” I said, as I turned to open mine.

Just yesterday, I found myself getting all Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking, as I spun fantasies of happy endings.

But reality keeps sucker punching me awake. Just the two words: President and …  (I can’t say the other word) still take my breath away. It took me three tries last night before I could let Alexa (a creepy, but helpful Christmas gift from my teenage son) continue with my daily news briefing because I couldn’t get past those two words. together.

And then I went to bed in despair, and tossed and turned, until a high fever woke my son, and we settled him between us. And in this cramped space, I looked out the french doors to see a bright star, in the east, a planet perhaps, and it lifted me, and simultaneously diminished me, and brought to mind all those whose suffering is greater than mine, especially those in war-torn nations, who may be finding solace in the same light on this dark winter night.

And I thought, why makes me entitled to peace?

And: Why shouldn’t there be a man like him in the white house?
Think of all the men in all the nations of the world who have made things worse.

Why does my country deserve something better?

I’m pretty sure I spent the entire 75 minutes of this morning’s yoga class, thinking, and I didn’t even chide myself for it, or redirect my attention to my breath; I just let those worries loop, and bleed out; and in the very last moment, just before Namaste, I arrived, in the gift, of the present moment, like a drop of water on parched lips.

And then I drove downtown in search of a parking space and breakfast, only to discover that there wasn’t a single coin in my car for the meter.

“How dare they not leave me any change!” I said to myself about my husband and my son–the new driver.

And as I gathered my things from the car for the long walk down the hill from the meter free spots, I saw it:

a small tidy pile of silver coins in a place they’d never been placed before…

And I scolded myself with a smile:

Who am i not to be happy?
How dare i be anything but!

How else will I maintain the necessary strength to be present and active in response-ability to the suffering of others.

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