I don’t think anybody expects things to go right 100% of the time, and frankly I don’t know anybody who is that hopelessly and perpetually optimistic. I also don’t, or try not to, associate with people who are so negative and overwhelmingly pessimistic that they think things will never go their way. I’m inclined to think that most people are a lot like me; simply hoping for the 75/25 kind of life, but are actually rather pleased when they get a 60/40 kind of day, or week, or even year. I’ve lived long enough now to know that I’ve been, in almost every measurable way, luckier than most, and blessed, like with some kind of magic goodness, because most of my life, when I take the time to neutrally examine it and assess these fifty years on the planet, really has been in the 90/10 range, and I am thankful. Every. Single. Day.
When I think back to the sob story that was my life as a young new mother and terrified and confused young wife, I now perceive the horribleness of it all as if it’s a book I once read, that is how detached I now feel from it all, and from that person who survived it all. When I was 19 and living that miserable life, I would NEVER have believed anybody, had they told me, “child, it’s all gonna be okay” because nothing felt okay, months and months and months of very much not at all okay.
One of my yoga teachers says this, “you have survived 100% of your worst days.” How empowering, right??!! AND so decades later, from all of that awfulness, I now sit on a crisp sunny day in my beautiful home with my stunningly beautiful daughter and her perfectly wonderful daughters next door, and our aunt’s house right behind us, and my happy & healthy parents a few minutes down the road, which is right next door to my sister’s…all of this okay-ness, all around me, years and years and years now of very much okay. I have been in some really bad situations, some super scary, some super sad, and through all of those troubled waters, love was the bridge that carried me out and over the mess I found myself in. This morning another yoga teacher said, “love is the answer, even when it’s hidden under the bad stuff” and I know she is right because I have lived it.
Time after time I have disappointed my loved ones but they kept on loving me, without condition, and loved me enough to protect me from, or help me out of, whatever harm, mess, difficulty, or chaos I was in…sometimes of my own hand by my own dreadful decisions, and sometimes through no fault of my own, but they never failed to lift me and help me keep my head above the water. They have never let me down.
While it’s true that this family of mine and I have diametrically opposed views about most everything, the fact is that when they have ever needed me or I them, we simply act from love, step up, and do what needs to be done. So much comfort one gets simply from the KNOWING, the absolute certainty, that there are people who care about you and have your back. I’ve read too many memoirs, and seen too many movies, and heard too many stories that showed me, fiction or non, that there are a great number of people who don’t share my good fortune to have good people who love them. It’s a big deal. It’s something I do not take for granted. On the surface one might think we’ve nothing in common, and indeed they all seem to think differently than I about, well, pretty much everything, but what we do have in common, the values we do share, the moral compass to which we hold one another accountable, the love we have for the same circle of people is like glue which binds us, and it turns out that is enough.
After an ugly break-up some years ago, a person wrote many horrible things about me and said many terrible things about me, and for a short while I felt like I was drowning in misery, but my heart grew to unimaginable hugeness when acquaintances and friends immediately came out boldly and in force to tell me that no, they did not tolerate such slander, and no, they would not believe such hurtful things and yes, I had their support. My family just shook their heads and then shook it off, never giving up on me, never doubting my goodness, acting again as a bridge for me to get over, and out of, troubled waters. There is a whole lot of strength to be found in that kind of love and that kind of friendship.
It takes only one bad decision, one terrible choice, one miscalculation in judgment for waters to become troubled, and bridges take a long time to build. Some people just don’t “get it” and live with a “I’d never let that happen” mentality, and that self-righteous “not me” way of thinking, when they see bad things happening to good people, but they don’t realize how fast the waters can swell to roughness that simply can’t be navigated. Some might think they need arsenals of weapons “for protection” but I don’t think they “get it” either. I have come to believe that what we all need to stockpile is compassion and love, friendship, and meaningful relationships based on real feelings of deep caring, because THAT is what protects us and shelters us, and builds bridges that carry us out of the troubles when we’ve lost our way.