Gratitude and other thoughts

I read a blog the other day that was a diatribe against the “everything happens for a reason” statements. Someone dies and people say “she is in a better place” or “God has a plan”, or “She is at peace now”. I always thought that was bullshit but the blog articulated it really well. It got me thinking.

Over the past three years I have asked myself often if walking away from my marriage was a mistake. I try to avoid that thought pattern because I did leave and there is no turning back and I like myself so much better now than I did three years ago. I am comfortable in my skin, present, content, introspective…all the things I want to be and some things I hope to be someday and haven’t quite reached yet. So it’s good, I am good. There are lots of lingering feelings of sadness and regret and loss, I am exhausted all the time from working full time, managing a household alone, raising three kids and just living life. I struggle with watching another woman raise my kids in the home I once loved. It’s hard but I am doing it and learning and growing. In return I love who I am now, how I feel about myself and what I have managed to accomplish…on my own. I have great kids, a wonderful life.

So was it worth it?

Did everything happen for a reason?

Who gives a shit? It did happen. It is. And now I am living this life. Because it happened.

I think you can’t know things until you get to those things. The path you choose leads to discoveries. Maybe the discoveries are different than the ones you may have made had you chosen an alternate path. But I don’t want to think too much about that. It’s a waste of time and energy and frankly my time and my energy are limited.

I went on an official visit to a local University last weekend with my daughter. It was a pretty amazing experience because I didn’t visit colleges when I was a graduating senior, I went to a local Junior College. So it was cool to do that as a parent with my daughter. There were many moments of complete pure presentness over that weekend, moments of “this is amazing and I know it is and I am feeling it with all my cells”. I know three years ago I struggled a lot with that type of “being present”. If I hadn’t had so much suffering over the last three years maybe I wouldn’t be able to be fully present in moments like I am now.

But am I grateful for the pain so that I could be this fully present?

Um, no. That’s dumb.

I don’t know if three years of aging and living life might have led me to exactly this type of being present had I not gone through this shitty, hard period. You just can’t know anything about your journey until you are in it.

I have always felt this way about people who give bullshit advice.

I felt it when I was getting married and people would say, “enjoy this time before you have kids, you will miss it when it’s over”.

Or when I was pregnant and people would say, “having kids is going to change everything”.

Or “enjoy them while they are young, this time is precious.” Of course I see it now. But I couldn’t see it then, knee deep in dirty diapers and desperate for three consecutive hours of sleep.

So, I guess I am saying, you just can’t know things until you reach them and you just can’t feel things until it’s your time to feel them. Life is not some scientific equation where the goal is to solve for X.

You move through life and you go where you are heading based on the choices you make and you try to be present and happy and grateful, you try to find peace and love and a little joy along the way.

I am not grateful for pain and suffering so I could be grateful for the beauty I have in my life today.

I am simply grateful for the beauty I have in my life today.

I had one of these overwhelmingly grateful moments while I¬†was driving home from the visit last weekend; my daughter was asleep in the car next to me. She’s always sleeping. Teenagers are always sleeping.

It’s so cute. (NOT)

So I am driving. And it’s finally sunny after a weekend of constant thunderstorms. The window is down a little and a good song is playing on the radio. I look over at her, her sweet, sleeping face and I am completely overwhelmed by the love i feel for her. It’s so much, i feel tears dripping¬†down my face.

I have always loved her. My daughter.

But the love gets bigger. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know it would get bigger as time went on.

I suspect it will keep on getting bigger, but I won’t really know that until I get there.

It’s not bigger because she hated for me a while and i thought I might have lost her forever.

It’s just sweet, pure, beautiful, wonderful love. It’s gigantic. And I am so grateful to feel it.

And i think about my mom and I realize how much she loved me. I feel that loss for a minute. I feel deeply the missing of my mom’s unconditional love, especially now that I understand how much bigger it got for her too.

But you won’t hear me trying to explain that to people, trying to get them to understand something they can’t understand until they reach that point in their journey…if they ever do.

I don’t know if everything happens for a reason. I don’t know why people spend so much time trying to make sense of things or find meaning in pain. I have definitely tried to do that too. I don’t want to do that anymore.

I don’t know what it means.

I don’t think I care.

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My daughter and I.

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