Today was an absolutely gorgeous day…and I spent it mostly inside. We got the kids out to the park for a brief moment which was lovely. It was the kind of day that would have been a scorcher in July, but in March lets you stand in a warm breeze in just a sweater and feel toasty in the sunshine.
We had previous plans to go with my sister-in-law’s family to see Beauty and the Beast, which was a big treat. I remember going to see movies in the theatre when I was a kid. It always felt like a big deal, and it still does. I still love watching all the movie trailers, although I was a little put off by the seemingly endless stream of car commercials at the beginning of Rogue One.
It’s a pretty luxurious life when we can complain about commercials at the beginning of a movie. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and make you feel bad about feeling discontent in the midst of a really privileged life. I find that shaming people into making changes, even if it’s a very subtle shaming, is pretty ineffective. We’re enormously privileged, and on the whole it hasn’t translated into enormous happiness. This is the way of our privileged world. We have to do with that what we will.
I just wish sometimes I could walk through my world and my life and be awed with all that I have. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could wake up every day and experience every good thing in life as if we had just received it in the most serendipitous of circumstances?
I know we don’t experience things this way, but wouldn’t be great if we could re-live the joy of discovery with all of our blessings, like the way we receive the best gift, only we experience it every day.
That’s why I love to find things that are lost. I hate losing things. I find it very frustrating to know that something I had within my grasp only moments before is now out of my grasp and may not ever be in my grasp again. I even hate losing a pair of mittens – or especially just one of them. I spend more time than I should looking for insignificant things, but I just know how great I feel when I find them. I know that often these things would be gone forever if I didn’t go back to look for them.
There was one time when one of my kids dropped a plastic bugs bunny toy in the grocery store and so I went back in to look for it. We found it. I was very pleased. This is not a necessary thing. It’s not really a good use of time, but I knew that it was in there, and if I didn’t go in then, we would never get it back, and ever after, I always felt a little twinge of pleasure when I saw that bugs bunny toy – I don’t know where it is now. But I remember it. I remember these things.
Maybe one of the reasons that I will sometimes go back to look for these things is that I don’t easily forget them, even if I ought to. I remember these lost bugs bunny toys, and they bug me sometimes. I hate losing things, but when I find them, man, I love that.
But what about the big things? Sometimes I come home and I look at my house and I marvel that I own a house. Even in its seeming perpetual state of renovation and space issues, I think it’s remarkable that I actually own a piece of property in this city, and it’s dry when it rains and it’s warm when it’s cold outside.
Sometimes it’s a matter of imagination. If I think about what it might be like to be without a house – what if our house fell down? What if there was some kind of terrible stroke of misfortune that forced us to sell the house and to move to a tiny little apartment. I would miss this house something awful.
Sometimes when I have a close encounter on my bike or in the car I imagine what it could be like if I’d actually gotten into the accident I just narrowly missed. What if the van bent around another car’s rear-end, or what if I was lying groaning on the pavement with a mangled bicycle by my side. Even if it was just a little accident I would be stuck at the side of the road waiting for the police.
When I drive away from those near-misses, sometimes I think to myself, “I’m not at the side of the road. I’m on my way none the worse for wear.” Suddenly the day feels a little bit better. I imagine myself sitting at the side of the road cursing my rotten luck and wishing somehow that I’d been able to avoid this…and as I imagine it, I think to myself, “That’s what this moment is. I’m in that moment I’d be desperately wishing for if I’d been hit. This ordinary moment is actually another moment’s wish come true, and what a great thing that is!”
There’s a lot to feel discontent about. There are so many things to lament. People could be so much kinder and generous to each other in so many different ways…myself included…but that’s just one area of life. There’s also another area where there is a big stack of wonderful, lovely, good things, and wouldn’t it be lovely if we could always feel the good of those things – if we could savour what it means to have them all the time.
Just talking about it makes me feel excited about being alive. I love that.