It’s seem like no matter how many movies come out with the same story line as “It’s A Wonderful Life”, I always feel that somehow my life must the the exception. Surely the bad things that I work so hard on, and the past that I wish could be erased, or the prayers that go for years unanswered are the things that keep my life from being what it is supposed to be, not in fact the cornerstones that hold up everything that is good in my life today. I know, I know, all the movies say it’s not true. If all the “bad” things were suddenly gone, it would somehow upset the “balance” of life and some colossal chain of events would alter my thinking forever and I would end up completely bewildered with what I wished my life could be, and be left in a miserable heap begging for my “old life” back.
But the reality of day in day out life is never that sudden revelation that all is well, or that life altering visit from ghosts of Christmas past.
For me it is my health. I can’t remember a time when I actually felt good and didn’t hurt. It seems normal to have to plan everything day to day because of the uncertainty of how I will feel. To one day feel fine and the next not be able to walk up a few stairs, or even dress myself.
I look at my life now, and I think how amazing life would be if only I felt better. If my whole life didn’t revolve around not getting too tired so my body collapses, or constantly having to limit even the fun stuff so as not to “overload the system.” Looking at it from my perspective, there seems no downside to feeling good. No horrible loss from having a healthy body. I can’t see any way my ill health has affected anyone else in any good way, that me being healthy couldn’t have accomplished. I’m certain I would have just as much compassion, and empathy, or whatever other good things are supposed to come from hard times, if I didn’t have to actually live through it. I see it robbing me, robbing the people I love, and being a constant drain on those that mean the most to me. I feel like I’m missing out on life. Missing out on living. Missing out on what it means to be young. Missing out on “normal”…. whatever that means. Missing out on being able to answer honestly to “how are you doing?” without sounding like a grumpy old grinch.
Today Hudsen and I were sitting on the couch. I wasn’t feeling good again, so we sat and danced to music while sharing headphones, cause he though that was cool. We sang and watched Daniel Tiger. I listened to my ipod, gave him apples, explained to him what things were, watched his eyes light up when he found some candy in a drawer, and told him for the millionth time today “daddy is at work.”
I felt sad, defeated, alone, and worthless. I hadn’t really accomplished anything important today. A million things that “should” be done were racing through my head and leaving me feeling dark, despite the fact that sunshine was pouring through my windows.
But then I looked at Hudsen, all smiles and giggles, and I saw how happy he was that mom was there. Right next to him. Not doing some amazing important adult thing, just there. Not chiding him when he spilled water all over the floor. Not grumbling that all the toys were out, and telling him I was too busy to listen to his chatter. And even though I didn’t have a sudden rush of happiness that my life is full of pain and lots of couch time right now, I also know I won’t ever get do do this over. My little baby will never be 18 months again. There is no way my life could be arranged better for spending time with my baby. There is no project so amazing, no house so clean, no store so wonderful, or business so successful that would make a little boy smile like he did today.
I don’t know what the meaning is behind the crappy things in life. I still think things would be so much easier and better if I felt good. But I do know that all the sucky things life throws our way doesn’t change love. The love we give to those around us, the love we give our family, and friends, and even complete strangers. And feeling good, or not being in debt, or owning a home, or “living our dream”, could never make us feel more loved, or be more able to give love than we are right now.
Tomorrow may never come, or tomorrow may be worse than today. I’m not trying to be a downer, that’s just the way life is. So don’t wait for it. Love today. Live today. It’s all we have. It’s all we need.