Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Optimist Suit

I know that this is the time of year when most people have their cleanest, freshest, least wrinkly, best smelling, Optimist suits on...and you probably know that I have not yet been so fortunate as to find such a suit in all my 2nd-handling (I don't know if that term works...so perhaps we should stick to thrifting)...but here is what helps me tolerate...maybe even feel excited about...the thought of the new year to come.  I can't predict it.

Seriously, this gives me great hope.

Before the new year even thought about starting, I had let myself start to dread it.  I thought I had it all figured out.  Work.  A good job, but one I don't feel made for.  When yesterday-Monday woke up, I laid in bed thinking about how much I was not going to enjoy myself.  Anymore.  This year.  Maybe next.  A thought bubble appeared above my head (not my own, I'm convinced):  "Erin, you think too much".  And it slowly began to hit me (as slow as hits can ever be, anyway).  I DO think too much.  I think so much I practically look for things to dread and fear and every possible reason why I should.  (Somewhere in the world, a Hallelujah chorus bubble is hovering above Mac's head).

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I guess what I'm trying to say is...I thought I could predict so much about my life, and I sort of dismissed a large portion of it before it even had a chance to happen.  But looking back, I see that the most wonderful things in my life were things I could never have predicted.  The husband I met in 4th grade.  The dog whose freckly mugshot we couldn't resist on a shelter website.  The friends who showed up on Montana's doorstep and the friends whose doorsteps I showed up on in Texas.  Sudden back to back sister/mom visits in December when I couldn't have needed it more.  All of it, too much for my fairly imaginative brain to invent sometimes, much less predict.

I'm not blind to the fact that some of the very worst things in life are also the things we couldn't predict.  The tragedies that blindside us.  An avalanche, a diagnosis, a disappearance, a breakdown...a loss.  For a long time I felt like I worked in the vortex of blindsiding tragedies.  My job was opening the door to the shelter in everyone else's storms, and you would think it would be depressing, but I've never been in a more hopeful place.  I watched friendships sprout like rogue wild berries growing in thickets of knapweed (or whatever other plant villain you can think of).  I would never go so far as to say the tragedies were beautiful, because they weren't.  They were ugly would-be thieves.  I would say that almost always something unexpectedly lovely came out of them, though.  Mostly the loveliness was just...love.

Anyway, I remind myself that I need to rest and rejoice in the fact that I cannot see the days of my life unfolding before they do...and that I have no right to dread them.  If I can just scratch the surface of the expected and let what's barely hidden beneath surprise me somehow each day, I think this might just be a year to look forward to.