Photo: Lori Landau (this photo will be auctioned at the Save Stitch house concert April 10th)
Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of a moment where you’re smiling, feeling it all the way to your core and you realize…Oh my god, this is it. This is perfect happiness. It may only last 20 seconds, but you had it. You want to lasso it and hold it forever, but you can’t. Those moments are beautiful and elusive gifts.
Years ago my therapist taught me to go to those moments when darkness threatens to overtake me. I close my eyes and relive them: Holding my baby daughter, laughing and spinning in place; My son Taylor peacefully sleeping in my arms under a balmy Carribean sky; Looking into Evan’s eyes for the first time; Troy and I sitting in silence on an Alaskan mountaintop- the only people in the world. When I go there in my mind, I’m able to see that these moments are possible, and they will occur again. The sadness lifts and my hope is restored.
The other night was one of those moments. I was supposed to watch my grandbaby so my son and daughter-in-law could go out. Instead we all ended up hanging out together in the living room with the kids running around, the baby making his way from one lap to the other. We ate hot fudge sundaes and talked and laughed. It was pure, simple happiness. I reminded myself to stay present in it, and absorb every second.
As I have navigated my way through the troubled waters of the past year, I found tiny moments like these to be the lily pads that bloom in the middle of the muck. I hopped from lily pad to lily pad to make my way across those dark turbulent waters. And when there was no happy-moment lily pad, my friends were there, throwing me the life-line.
This week I landed on a big, fat, happy lily pad: Because my amazing friends supported us through this lawsuit and trial, we now have the best attorney fighting for us. A month ago I was despondent and beaten down, ready to give up. Now I feel confident that we WILL win. As if that wasn’t enough, on Monday, after writing all my life, I signed with a literary agent. On Wednesday, I randomly found out that a story I wrote would be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul- Answered Prayers (something I had submitted a year ago and forgotten about!). And Thursday…Wow. Thursday a project that Amy Ferris and I have been nurturing for a year has finally taken wing. Seal Press bought our anthology The Shame Prom. This is the beginning of a beautiful journey that we believe will lift so many. My happy moment has stretched out for a whole week now and I am practically delirious.
Life is so unpredictable. There were times over the past year and a half when life was so crazy-bad, I thought someone had a big voodoo doll of my soul. On the darkest days, I felt doomed that my luck would never change. But through it all there were those tiny moments to keep me going.
And that’s what I believe life to be. Not always fair or just. I’ve seen bad people make out like bandits in this life, and good people suffer. But we get what we get, and in between there are those moments: a friend reaches out, a stranger holds a door open for you and smiles, a baby is born, there are spontaneous fits of laughter (my favorite), flowers blooming after the rain, a crocus poking it’s head above the snowy ground…these small scenes of perfection that are there to heal us if we pay attention and let them in.
Right now I am in one. I sit in my sanctuary writing, my favorite music is playing softly, Stitch and the kitties sleep peacefully together at my feet, birds are chirping, the windows are all open as the breeze blows the gauzy sheers in and out, as though the room were gently breathing. Absolute perfection.
I am in a state of deep gratitude, and wanting nothing more than to return the generosity of spirit you’ve all shown me. Thank you for all the tiny, perfect moments: the kind words and comments, the letters, the cheerleading. Thank you for helping me to bloom in the muck.