Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wishing for Something to Happen

In the midst of preparing for this year's open enrollment meetings, which is a very big deal for an HR department that serves 1300 benefits-eligible employees, divorce, the usual school activities for my kids, church, extended family and friends, I find myself wishing something would happen. That sounds crazy, as if there isn't enough happening. Maybe that's just it. There is so much stuff, but nothing big, nothing fun. Yes, life goes that way. I know that. But it goes along that way for so long sometimes, and one just needs an event, a something. Goethe wrote that "a man can tolerate anything except a succession of ordinary days." That is what I'm talking about. Think Calvin, in Calvin & Hobbes, when he realizes how quickly summer vacation is passing: "I'm not having enough fun right now."

I am so weighted down with ordinary that I can accomplish nothing.

Agatha Christie opened her book Partners in Crime (the Tommy & Tuppence Beresford mysteries are my favorite Christie books):

Mrs. Thomas Beresford shifted her position on the divan and looked gloomily out of the window of the flat. The prospect was not an extended one, consisting solely of a small block of flats on the other side of the road. Mrs. Beresford sighed and then yawned.

"I wish," she said, "something would happen."

Mrs. Beresford's wish is granted, over a short stretch of time. Sometimes, mine is, but usually it is more of the same. The same isn't so bad, of course. Mrs. B (Tuppence to her friends) goes on to explain to her unsympathetic husband, "I'm used to my blessings, that's all." That is a good perspective to take. In my life, a good bit of turmoil has been resolving. I have been honored with the request of a good friend, to help her write her memoir, a memoir very much worth writing and reading. I am looking forward this weekend to a poetry writing workshop, and a gathering with family for Mother's Day. All good things, if not exciting.

I'm not even sure what would constitute the "exciting" sort of event I'm craving. There is a lurking suspicion that I need to keep working through the ordinary, and maybe then "something will happen," or maybe the craving will subside. I have learned that exciting developments won't come (getting something published, or even finished, to be considered for publication, for example) if I don't keep working. There's the possibility, of course, of getting fired if I'm not working, which would be exciting, but not quite what I want.

So, it's back to the invoices (the work I'm employed to do), the filing, making dinner and doing the dishes, laundry and getting the kids to bed, and the snatches of time to write and to read good books. I am thankful for those things, for the awesome kids, a life of growth, good friends and family, and for the work that goes to sustaining them. As long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, it's okay if I'm still wishing for something to happen. It will probably be more fun if it comes as a surprise, anyway.

Find the gratitude in your life, and you'll find
joy standing right next to it.
--Melody Beattie, from her book Gratitude (purchase online at

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