This is not a bitch, or at least is just a gentle one. Every morning and afternoon I take my break and walk for 10-15 minutes, and probably three days out of five, I run into someone I know. They want to stop and chat, say hi, whatever, and oftentimes we are standing in the middle of the road talking, or a busy sidewalk (and only here will oncoming cars just wait patiently for you to get done talking rather than honk or yell), and I am gone longer than I expected to be. It is annoying sometimes; I suck at small talk, am not well versed in those little social graces that are imperative to making it in a small town. I reallydon’t care about so-and-so’s grandma who has been ill for weeks and finally got to where she was losing her marbles and had to be put in “a home” and it is just sooo haard to get over there and see her as much as she would like because there was Scout camp and then Joey had wrestling practice and you know how much time it takes just to run kids around….
But then I realize this; I DO care. Not because so and so being in a home impacts me on a personal level, but because I know these people. I know them well enough to stop and talk to, to wave at them on the street as we go by. Steve and Hannah both mentioned it a few days ago: “Wow, you know a lot of people!” Well, that was Hannah’s comment; Steve was more along the lines of “You are saying hi to people and calling them by NAME? I am impressed!”
See, I don’t like people. It is well known that I like to keep to myself; I am not inclined to call people on the phone just to chat, I am not a fan of religious freaks people just dropping by to say hi, I certainly am NOT the kind of person who wants to make small talk in the middle of the road on a hot summer day. I am just not all that friendly.
At least I haven’t been in the past. I used to walk around life with my arms metaphorically folded, protecting myself from people the way a mama kangaroo will keep her babies nestled in her pouch. I learned so young that people hurt, so I grew up thinking that was the way it was; no more, no less, just normal. And of course I chose to be around people who would hurt me, who did hurt me, because again, that’s all I knew. A slap or a sharp word either one, that was love, right? Talk about perpetuating the cycle. So I kept myself apart from others, stood on the very fringes of life and watched, never feeling like I fit in anywhere.
At some point, and in ways I am not sure of even now, the self-imposed burden of loneliness, the feeling of alienation from people and life, has been lifted. I talked about it some when talking about going to the fireworks shindig, but it is so much more than that. Not only do people know me, but they like me-and I kept myself apart from that for so long that it is still hard for me. Hard for me to accept and truly believe that people genuinely do care about me, harder still to accept that there just might be something loveable inside this old shell that is me. And lo and behold, there are a lot of people whom I geniunely like; isn’t that something?
Ms. Moon was writing this morning about the ordinariness of life and how just that is a miracle, and I truly believe this. I truly believe that this simple little thing of walking down the street and talking to someone is ordinary, yet for me nothing short of a miracle. I believe that we who have these ordinary lives and simply keep getting up in the morning and living them, well, we are the miracles. Every day that each one of us lays to rest the smallest bit of baggage from the past, every day that we forgive a little in our hearts or maybe just choose to love a little more, well, that day is a miracle, too.
Seems like my life is just full of them these days, and maybe that is the miracle. From the outside, you people looking in might see this very ordinary person, and I am. But tonight we are going to camp in the desert, Steve and the baby and I, and my car is already loaded save for the food-and I didn’t do any of it. That is a miracle to me. The fact that we will sleep under the stars and know that the other kids, the ones not with us, are safe and warm where they are is a miracle-they are with people who love them just about as much as I do, which is no small thing. A miracle or just ordinary life? Maybe it’s all in the perception.
Thanks go out to Ms. Moon today for her post; it helped me to bring together these different things I have been thinking about, how I am brought to my knees sometimes in gratitude for all that I have been given. Such a blessed, blessed life I have!