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I ran across a meme the other day that said January was a tough year, but we made it. Amen and Amen. 45 days until spring. We can do this.
I’m typing this as I sit alongside a sleeping and feverish Norah. It’s been nothing short of a miracle that I’ve got a kindergartner who hasn’t really been noticeably sick all school year, so we were due for it. Kids around us have been dropping like flies to fevers and flu, so I guess it’s our turn now. I’m grateful it’s Saturday and I’ve got no classes to teach or meetings to rearrange, and we can just stay in until it passes. Or at least until Monday when I do the usual juggle to create a new schedule.
It’s hard to keep the line open to something greater and bigger when you are in the thick of daily tasks and interruptions like this. But somehow it magnifies the bigger things, too. I think it’s Fitzgerald who has that famous line Things are sweeter when they are lost. And it is true.
You crave summer’s heat when you have the February doldrums. You crave wellness only when you are sick. I crave solitude most when I have a string of days without it. It’s always what we can’t have that we want most.
I know with certainty that the world works with a push-pull of opposites. Everything works this way. And it is such an ancient, unoriginal idea that I feel disingenuous even typing it here. But yet it’s hard to sink into. Maybe that’s the struggle of being human. But it is far worse in modern times, I think. Everything happens with such speed that we forget that the very best things in life are made even better because of times we didn’t have them. This is true with big things and little things, too.
I heard a yoga teacher say recently that an acorn can become an oak tree, and an oak tree can become a piano. But an acorn cannot be transformed into the piano without whatever comes in between. It’s such a simple illustration, but it sort of unzipped my brain a bit, and I’m replaying it again and again in my head since I’ve heard it. We so often want to arrive somewhere and skip the middle. But what if I’m gaining the whole of what I need for my final destination right now?
I yearn for a lot of things big and small. I want warmth and sunshine. I want a house without the heavy interruption of sickness and feverish kids. I want a working dishwasher (waiting weeks on that delivery makes it sweeter for sure).
I want lasting purpose and drive and ambition without the ebbs and flows of life’s interruptions. I want finished projects held in my hands. I want security and sustained joy.
I used to be afraid to admit to what I want, but I think what we want says so much about us. And maybe the clarity that we find in the act of wanting itself is what gets us where we need to be.