power in resignation
A commenter on the last post drove by and with her head lolling out the window like a golden retriever she barked Lordy, this is depressing! and I’d never seen her before and then she was gone and it got me to thinking about declarations and litterbugs and a few other things.
What’s depressing? Losing a child? Well, yeah. Sure.
Among many other things, some of which I may or may not encounter in life: divorce and sickness and wasted years and squandered opportunities and addiction and falling in with the wrong sort and living uneventfully but never being brave and the soul rotting away from disuse and mediocrity and chronic lack of stimulus.
All tragic, earth-shattering, consuming fires that burn inside all of us right alongside I have GOT to start drinking more water and please tell me my nose is not as big as I think it might be and if I don’t get some exercise at some point in this life I will lose the ability to move at all and vines will grow on my stillness and pull me into the earth and that will be the end.
We’re all struck dumb with wanting more, wanting to be more, speculating endlessly on the turns of our storyline. But this state of productive dissatisfaction is what motivates us to act on 5% of our complaints, or learn from 1% of our mistakes. And that’s something. Or to spend 90% more than we should at discount outlets in search of outfits that our better self would wear, as if that would be enough to spark that better self into being.
A roundabout way to get to the point of PERSONAL GROWTH and SELF-BETTERMENT. The pursuit of which is a really, really good thing: even if it just means that this year I managed to reduce my intake of alpha-getti by two cans a month.
I like seeing those words in all-caps, akin to the instant cures you could buy at a turn-of-the-century general store. McCALL’S SLIPPERY ELM ANTI-SLUG TONIC. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, be not paralyzed with the balm of contentedness!’ We’re clumsy things, humans, out here trying to dodge bullets. But you can’t, can you? As sure as you can’t dodge the weather. We’re all destined, in one flavour or another.
Accepting this isn’t necessarily pessimism. It’s a healthy sort of resignation, the kind of thing we need to get out of the way before we can open ourselves up fully to a breadth of living, as messy as it can get. To be doggedly open to mystery and beauty and possibility in spite of what conventional wisdom would call being dealt a shitty hand.
We have to plod ahead, keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter what unfairness crashes into us. To keep seeing and tasting and breathing in gorgeousness whenever it graces us, despite demons in the dark. That’s why it surprised me, the drive-by. What happened to us has been like the peeling of a cloudy film off my eyeballs. I see things now in such vividness, in Liam’s light. And it’s beautiful. Sometimes achingly so, but not remotely the sort of thing you could write off with one measly word. I hope you can see that. Can’t you?
The greatest gift — the thing I’m honoured and duty-bound to give to my elders and those who have passed before me (Liam included) — is to not be a source of worry. To keep exploring and appreciating and moving forward, to not be defined by passerby as drowning in rain.