Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Same River Twice

I've swiped the title of today's blog from Alice Walker, whom I love, and her book "The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult." It's a moving long-form essay on a time in her life when the most wonderful was paired with the most devastating. In the ultimate tribute to grace, she looks back on that tangled period of time with gratitude.

There is an inherent connection, I think, between the awful and awe-inspiring moments in life. Though it's more easily said than done, I'd like to be more like Alice and learn to embrace the difficult. Not just the overtly difficult, but the small disappointments that can build up and drown us if we aren't careful. In my best moments, when I am able to let go of what I thought life would be and simply see it for what it is, I start to glimpse how lucky I really am.

If I can apply some perspective now, when I know what was waiting outside the window after life slammed that metaphorical door, maybe I will be able to more readily wade through difficult waters in the future.

Here goes.

A Letter to My Life
Written with humility, happiness, and hope for the future

Thank you failed acting career. You remain my biggest disappointment. But I learned that there is no shame in throwing in the towel. Sometimes, even though you try your best, things just don't work out. I met Gabe doing a play though, and with the gift of Gabe came the treasure of my boys. There is no sitcom, no Broadway play, no Oscar-worthy movie role that I would choose over my little family. And even though I did not end this journey a star, I cannot discount the small victories along the way. Seeing my name on a cast list, that moment when a character clicks, the feeling of holding an audience captive - these things still happened. Life is long...who knows if or when this path and I will meet up again.

Thank you failed relationships. Thank you Stupid Pete for teaching me how to love someone. Thank you Kirby the Destroyer for showing me that 2 is better than 1, even though you weren't the man I thought you were. If it weren't for the two of you, I wouldn't fully appreciate what I have with Gabe.

Thank you to the four houses that I loved and then lost over the course of 3 months due to bad home inspections. Turns out that the fifth time is a charm! And now that we've left the congestion and noise of the Denver neighborhoods that we were aiming for, I wouldn't trade my big backyard, access to open space, and proximity to my parents for anything. Not even a good English-style pub...

Thank you heart surgery. Nothing puts life and love in perspective more than the threat of loss. Gabe's surgery was 7 months ago, and today it's as if it didn't happen. Except that maybe we appreciate being together a little bit more. And we try not to take the little annoyances too seriously or let the easy moments pass by unnoticed.

Thank you XY chromosomes. I had always wanted a daughter because I am so close with my mom, but this has turned out to be a delightful curveball. I was so sure that both boys were girls! Being wrong has never been more wonderful.

Thank you miscarriage. It breaks my heart to write that, but without you I never would have been honored by the birth of Aidan. And he is worth a million heartbreaks.

Finally, thank you former job for overwhelming me with work and then cutting my health insurance benefits when I was 5 months pregnant. I learned that just because I can function at a high stress level doesn't mean that I have to, and that it sometimes takes an extra push to overcome my fear of change and walk away.

Along those lines, thank you non-profit "dream job" that didn't even call me in for a first interview. I am so happy to be freelancing, spending more time with my kids, and finally being able to work on my own projects at my own pace. I never would have had the guts to land here voluntarily.

And that's maybe the biggest lesson of all.

I don't always know what is best for me. Just because I want something so much doesn't guarantee a success, and success doesn't guarantee that that path will be the optimum one for me. Unexpected pitfalls force change. I wouldn't have chosen any of the aforementioned struggles before they happened, but in hindsight I would not change a thing.

Thank you life. You seem to be working out quite well.


kmac said...

This is beautiful.

Pamela Hill said...

Thank you. There is no greater gift than know what is truly worthy of life.

Home Cookin said...

Thank you Dani Bo. I needed this.

It's in the Cards said...

Thank you for the beautiful reminder to be grateful. So open, honest, and moving.

shukrani said...

Beautiful. And yes, life is long... :)

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