Friday, March 04, 2011

Clean Slate, Grasshopper

photo by bottlesplus, used under cc license

It's been a little over three months since our house fire.  There are days when I measure our lives pre-fire and post-fire.  There are days when the strange mix of familiar and unfamiliar unsettles me.  It's odd living with rented furniture, walking into an alien space every day. But there is the usual here too. 

The dog still needs to be walked.  There is still laughter and cooking and watching bad SF movies on the television.  And there is clutter.  Lots of clutter.  (Something I can't seem to leave behind even if a fire takes most everything else.)

I think I am doing as well as one can ever hope to do, dealing with the aftermath of something like this.

And still, there are those times when I sink into self-pity or hear myself whining. I dislike those times.  I dislike the terrible self-centeredness that makes me feel as if my problems are more important, more pressing than anyone else's. 

I met a casual friend in a coffee shop the other day.  I asked him how things were.  He shrugged and gave me a typical half smile.  Said that his wife's MS was acting up.  That she was having trouble breathing. In that moment, something expanded inside me.  It shoved its way out from my own self absorption and dope slapped me in the process.

There was fear and acceptance in my friend's face.  In the set of his shoulders.  In the sadness around his eyes.

And I got it.

It's not about me or him.  Our home.  His wife.  None of that.

It's about all of us.  All of us in this life of transience where we have little say in the events both grand and infinitesimal that swirl around us.

Every moment is both new and chained to the one that has gone before. At any moment, we have perfect choice in how we are in the world.  We can weep or rave, and sometimes we need to do both, but neither will change what happens next. What every moment has for us is a chance to choose differently.

May all of us grasshoppers choose wisely.


  1. You did it again. So lovely and inspirational.

    I've observed that self-pity and depression are sticky, seductive states that suck you in if you allow it. Funny thing is that tests have found that exercise is more effective than sugar pills or antidepressants. Perhaps that's because you can't be seduced by the nastiness when you're concentrating on something else.

    Some day you will look back at all of this and use it as an example of how strong you can be...

  2. Thank you, Sue. And I am sure the frequent walks with the dog are also helping, as well as the increasing amount of sunlight each day.

    Yes, I am learning how strong I can be. xo.