Thursday, May 7, 2009

Look Up

My last post was about being disappointed. Well, I ended up getting U2 tickets and I was suddenly okay. Not really. My husband tells me that I constantly make up a new thing that will make me instantly happy. If only the house were finished. If only all the laundry was done. If only, if only. So much living in the future has kept me from living in this moment and looking around at what I actually do have. A few interesting things happened to me recently that I wanted to share with you.

I was driving my son to school this morning having already dropped off Princess V. I was mentally lamenting the fact that we do not yet have a contractor to work on the first floor of our house. Tumbling the various scenarios of an undone house around in my head. Trying to find a comfortable spot to lay the blame, you know, some place far away from me. Then I started thinking about how I really want my washer and dryer upstairs so I don't have to walk downstairs to the basement to do it. That's why it never gets done because the washer and dryer are so far away!!! And then Grace whispered in my ear: "Look up." There across the street were two young Peruvian women with a baby stroller and a toddler. They had stopped on the corner to re-shuffle the three enormous bags of laundry they were carrying while ensuring the safety of the children. One sack went on the top of the stroller and the other two - well, one was on top of the one ladies' head and the second on her shoulder, leaving her with no empty hands to hold the toddler's hand as they crossed a busy street. I saw her mouth move: "stay close to me" to the toddler. Lesson learned.

The other day I was sitting in my suburban mobile - that's a minivan for the uninitiated - waiting for my daughter outside one of her many lessons. Again lamenting the horrible state of my life. I am so tired, I am annoyed with my kids, my life is so hard. When again Grace whispered, "Look up." And there she was. A woman who looked like your average mom walked out of a store with a plastic bag, she ducked behind the dumpster I was sitting in front off and pulled out a small bottle of wine from a 4-pack, cracked it open and downed it in a matter of seconds. She then threw the bottle and the cardboard case that the 4-pack came in, into the dumpster, wiped her mouth and got into her suburban mobile. Probably also waiting to pick up her child. As I watched her in her car I saw her tilt her head back a few more times. When it was time to go and get my daughter I walked past her window about to knock and ask her if she was alright, if she needed anything; and I saw her with her head down and tears streaming down her face. Instead I prayed for her safe journey home.

I spend so much time in my life looking down or inward or away that I forget to look up and see what is around me. This post is not about feeling better because other people's lives are harder. This post is about recognizing how hard everyone's journey is. We all struggle. We all hurt. Knowing that makes me feel less alone. Remembering that I am linked to everyone keeps me from spiraling downward in my own private Idaho. My love to those women struggling through their lives today. And my gratitude to Grace for today's lesson. When in doubt, Look up.