Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude, dropping




When I carried a bag out to the garbage cans in the street tonight, I stopped and listened for a moment to the rain dropping. We so rarely hear that phrase -- rain dropping -- not technically a phrase but different than the noun raindrop. The rain has been dropping for a few hours, slowly and gently, pattering on the metal awning on my back door. I am filled with calm.

I have no idea why I am filled with calm. There has been no effort on my part. Today was partly unbloggable, not because it was bad but because it contained private things that I won't discuss here. There is a lot going on, and I feel a bit like the Cat in the Hat who not only can balance ridiculous things while standing on a ball, but also maintains a kind of sense of the absurdity of doing what he's doing. He is goofy in his confidence.

I began the morning feeling nauseous as I scanned Facebook and saw a thread on one of my old high school classmates' page that discussed the election results. There was talk of doom and destruction, of arming oneself. Those who voted for Obama were called idiots. Evidently, we have no idea what's coming. Debacles of the financial sort. A different America. Debacles of the social sort. Let's move to Texas, one said. There was a photo of a young daughter with a semi-automatic rifle in her hands, its ugly, black force a grotesque contrast to her young beauty. She was out, I guess, for a jolly day of hunting or learning how to shoot, she and her father, exercising their right to bear arms. Raising her up right, said one of my classmates. Way to go! another one said. Girls and guns! with a smile emoticon next to it, said another. Better stock up on ammunition, said another. I don't think I need to say that these are all very successful, well-to-do people who went to an exclusive private prep school in Atlanta, Georgia. Or maybe I need to point that out.

A friend of mine encouraged me tonight that I'm doing a good job, balancing on that ball with all that shit in my hands. I told her that I had a heroin habit and put a smiley emoticon next to it.

I know many people use November to express gratitude. Gratitude schmatitude is what I've thought for the last month, obstreperous, refusing the tyranny of the zeitgeist. A woman with a hairdo and small ballet shoes with kitten heels and a simple lined notepad let me talk today about Oliver. She leaned over a balcony as I walked away and said cheerily, Tell him that help is on the way! Don't despair! I could suddenly hold my troubles more securely. Tipping, I got my balance.

As I drove down Wilshire Blvd. to pick up the boys from school, I was filled with gratitude. With no effort on my part, I was calm.

21 comments:

  1. Send your balancing act and calm over my way.

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  2. Gratitude can be elusive. Glad you captured some.

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  3. Gratitude is funny like that. It can't really be forced. I hope all your private troubles wash away soon.

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  4. You know, I am trying out this gratitude thing for November. It is hard. Each day I stare blankly at my computer screen trying to find something that is worthy of being thankful for. And every single day some little thing jumps out at me without me expecting it to. I hope that things settle down for you and sort themselves out.

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  5. I love you. (That's all I've got today.)

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  6. I haven't done the daily counting of gratitude, mostly because I try to be grateful for something every day anyway. For some reason the meme thing is grating on me...I'm not sure why.

    I love the rain drop imagery...I could immediately hear the drops in a way I wouldn't have if you had just said "it's raining."

    Keeping the plates in the air. My daily goal.

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  7. Go you. Stay on the ball! xoxo

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  8. Here's what I think about gratitude- forcing that shit is wrong and artificial and serves no purpose. On the other hand, acknowledging it when it truly happens is imperative and joyful.

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  9. i love your cat in the hat metaphor. you can do this - can do all things i believe because you are a beautiful force and someone i deeply admire. Insert my smiley emoticon thinging (never knew that was what it was called) here. xoxo

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  10. There is a sort of miasma of doom and gloom in the country right now. I have a few theories about why, and am planning a posting on the topic, but wanted to say that I'm so glad that the loving words of one person could cut through that cloud for you. All it takes sometimes is the smallest, simplest thing to change - the power of goodness is so great - and it is lovely to hear that you received this gift. You deserve it - we all do!

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  11. The rain does that to me, too. I am struck (as I was several times during the tumultuous election craziness) by the notion that it is the small, every day balancing and plodding of one foot in front of the other with our eyes on the next step that keeps us all moving forward. In my life I have railed against politicians I didn't want to see elected but who made it to office despite my best efforts, and I have joyously celebrated others for whom I campaigned. In the end, their decisions impact my life in such small, incremental ways that I am able to go on with my daily tasks without much difference, at least in the short run. I don't mean to belittle the enormous decisions they make on important issues such as civil rights and health care, but ultimately, dinner needs to get on the table every damn day and my kids have to get to school and we all balance the balls in our lives the best we can. In my estimation, it is far more vital that we spend our energy giving each other hope like the woman who shouted over the balcony to you than brandishing weapons and screaming about the sky falling on Facebook.

    Love to you.

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  12. Just skipping the November 30 days of gratitude and substituting 30 days of vodka and tonic...

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps my favorite comment ever -- :)

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  13. That's a side of the US we don't often hear about over here, and judging from the election's results, it's a side that isn't the majority either. In general, though, (hope I'm not offending anyone) I'm so glad I'm not on FB. Do I need to know what my high school class mates do? Do I want to know what their children do? Decades later, I can't even remember their names! And there's a reason for it: I don't really care, and I'm so glad that FB isn't keeping me updated with that kind of stuff. (oh, oh, I'm such an antisocial :)).
    I'm very sorry about your private trouble, and hope that your calm isn't coming from a storm.

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  14. "maintains a kind of sense of the absurdity of doing what he's doing" - that, and having friends who go through the same thing, is how we get through it. And alcohol :)

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  15. Gratitude has to be grace's kin, we are flooded with a serenity in which we played no part. I do work on speaking thanks out loud continually for anything that hasn't gone hopelessly awry, for what makes 'all this' sweeter, to whatever extent.

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  16. We don't get nearly enough rain here either, that when it does come I make it a point to walk outside and feel it.

    And your heroin habit...made me laugh out loud!

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  17. When did this 30 days of gratitude become such a thing? I mean, I understand the Thanksgiving connection, but suddenly several of my Facebook friends are doing those daily posts. I think gratitude is great to feel but I don't really want to express it, show it off like a bauble. It just seems a bit forced to me. Maybe I'm just being crabby.

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  18. I feel woozy too reading those FB post-election comments but I feel gratitude reading your words, always. sorry I've been awol.

    go easy on the heroin, heroine.
    xo

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