So for the last few weeks, I’ve been waking up and going to sleep in a state of irrepressible good cheer.
The experience is utterly foreign to me (little Eeyore Eileen hiding behind a Wednesday Addams façade), so I oscillate between unabashed gratitude and perplexed skepticism.
Part of me is just waiting for the universe to hand the bill.
It’s not even that things are all that different from how they were just a month ago. The same causes for worry are there, as are the same sources of annoyance, inconvenience and irritation. But the usual negativity seems so remote: the edge of anger dulled, the sting of sadness blunted, and everywhere the soothing blanket of an alien serenity.
I’m not complaining—far from it. There’s just the customary anxiety at the thought of losing an unexpected grace (how quickly appreciation turns into attachment!). So I try to find the source of it, all the while hoping that the source is me.
Part of it likely is. All the fractures and fissures of the last several months haven’t gone away, but finding myself alive (alive!) and surprisingly well after every single break has nurtured a (secret) confidence that there is such a thing as a resilient self—that we not only go on, but that we go on growing stronger even when all we’re present to is our mute, incessant appeal for relief. So much tenacity (undreamt of, unhoped for)—and so much strength in such timidly beating hearts!
And isn’t this the pedestrian miracle of life? When the sight of a leaf or the sound of a breeze can trigger that most diaphanous of epiphanies: that existence is superfluous, unnecessary and even pointless, but precisely for all those reasons, is the most primordial of gifts. For isn’t that the nature of a gift? That it is given in the absence of need and reason.
So the struggle of life simply boils down to this: to grow—to grow a heart wide enough, deep enough, massive enough to take the gift.
(And yes, I still do find myself waiting for that bill. The waiting—and the awareness of the waiting—is part of growing too.)