I’m not sure I would ever call myself an optimist. I need to think through worst case scenarios in order to feel prepared. And I tend to worry a little. Or maybe a lot. So it’s probably no surprise that I’m feeling a little melancholy as I tiptoe into 2013. I’m not feeling the resolution inspiring blank slate that the change of the calendar usually brings. It’s more along the lines of same-shit-different-day. Not to mention all the sadness and loss in the world.
Is anyone else picking up on that? Here in our community, and in my circle of friends, we’ve lost some really great people since Tuesday. All of them suddenly. Most of them way before we should have. It’s devastating. Beyond comprehension really. My heart is so sad for so many families right now.
And that’s giving me perspective – or rather, reminding me of what my perspective needs to be. My problems are first world problems. Suburban middle class problems. More specifically, money problems.
When your children are healthy and snuggling up to you on a lazy vacation morning, money problems don’t really matter. When your marriage is a source of stability and happiness in your life, money problems are background noise. When your money problems still allow you to put food on your table and coats on your babies, money problems aren’t all that problematic.
Focus. Focus on that.
I’m trying. I really am.
I read a story the other day about a family that suffered a devastating loss. The father told the writer of the story that they felt like their life was like the back of cross stitch. You know, the side where you can see all the knots, loose ends, and places where the colorful threads have to stretch an inch or two to get to where they need to be in order to create the beautiful and flawless design on the front. The back side is messy and imperfect. But there’s still beauty in the colors and patterns that you can see there. The Dad went on to say that God’s promise is that eventually when we are with him in Heaven we get to live the front side. Perfect and flawless. And good news, he’s going to be with us through all the mess and imperfection that gets created along the way.
Ok. I can get on board with that. And like I said, I’m not super unhappy about the mess and imperfection. It’s still pretty fabulous. I’m just trying to figure out how to navigate the right now.
Sometimes it’s maddening. I understand that we have not made the right decision every single time. But we have also not been careless or reckless. While I refuse to play the victim any longer, there’s no denying that we’ve had a streak of bad luck. It’s making charting a path out of these rough waters really complicated. I am unsure what it means to play it safe. I don’t have a lot of faith in the American Dream right now. (You can, in fact, work really, really, really hard and still end up flat broke.) And I sure as hell don’t trust that the government or the bank or anyone else wants to help us get back on our feet. Circling like vultures is more like it…
I suppose it’s moments like these when you just have to let it go and know that when the dust settles our first world problems will not have cataclysmic results. I’ve played out all the worst case scenarios. They still result in a roof over our heads, food on the table, and coats on my children. This is a very good thing.
So for 2013 my goal is stability. My resolution is to persevere. My mindset is one of gratitude.
Be gentle New Year. I’m hoping to read this 12 months from now and have these words seem unfamiliar. Like a distant memory.
Here we go…