Saturday, November 10, 2007

". . . by the grace of nature, not industry."

Yesterday I started to write these words:

There's something about the sense of satisfaction that one feels when a part life begins to go right that inevitably shines a shaky, reluctant light upon the less successful areas. In the midst of enjoying Ms. K very, very much I can't help but see the string of things that need my attention. Some are mundane and others part of the big picture. From the bathroom faucet that slowly leaks and the closet organized to the freelance jobs desperately needed and the career skill set improved.

Even as I wrote these words I felt a reluctance to declare anything a mission accomplished for what is really an ongoing evolution, but really it's because I'm that superstitious. Things between Ms. K and I are delicate. For every Best Day Ever™ there is a frustrated email or text exchange that spans the gulf between two people who want to be together more but cannot for reasons far out of their control. These are sobering reasons that go beyond a simple difference of location, the severity (or rather the possibility) of which I learned last Friday.

My roommate (and colleague) Libby had been with me on a 6 train heading downtown not too long after I learned what I did. I was just trying to keep it together and not cry on the train, explaining things to her that I cannot explain here in this blog. In many ways Libby is my sounding board, which ranks her as one of my very dearest friends. The tenor of our conversation broke only negotiate rush hour train riders and the occasional joke of the stiff drink that awaited the end of our journey.

As we approached the end of the line at City Hall, the train had thinned out so much that only a few riders were left. I was close enough to see a seated woman reading Atonement by Ian McEwan, which more astute blog readers will remember as my favorite book of all time. Although I felt an instant kinship with the woman, I also remembered with sadness that my blog post about my love of Atonement was one of the things that brought Ms. K together for she too is a fan of the book. But then I was struck by the randomness by seeing it on the subway -- not exactly a popular book nor a breezy read. There was something profound in its presence at that exact moment and I saw it as an omen, a sign from the beyond. But what sort of sign? A good sign? Wait, the book is about the awful consequences that come from one stupid mistake and that can't be a good sign. But what if it's just the Universe's way of waving a hand at me and saying Hey, I'm here. Have some faith. It'll all work out.

And that's how I resolved to interpret the sign long after the subway doors opened and the remaining passengers of the 6 train dispersed into the subway station to points unknown.

When I woke up this morning (yes, with my new apnea mask on), I was reminded of the initial sentiment I was trying to express in yesterday's unfinished thought, that of constant self improvement. I think a lot of my recent reflection comes from two upcoming anniversaries -- that of my arrival in New York three years ago and that of my birth twenty-nine years ago. This past year has been life altering in ways that I could never talk about on this blog but I can liken to being repeatedly buffeted by cosmic forces with their own agenda. While I realize that there are some things simply out of my control, there are plenty of things that are.

Snuggled in bed with a cat draped over my stomach I turned the last pages of Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, a book that I have taken so long to finish that it's become a joke between Ms. K and I. Satisfied with one down and another started, I took a break for coffee and to finish this blog entry, Elliot Smith blaring over iTunes. Now I'm off to plunge my energy into the things I can change, but still keeping an eye out for those good omens, a sign from the Universe that it will all work out.


Anonymous said...

"For every Best Day Ever™ there is a frustrated email or text exchange that spans the gulf between two people who want to be together more but cannot for reasons far out of their control."

I read this and know exactly how you feel. I'm on month 17 of 18 spent apart from my special someone, and for every day that we laugh, for every sweet email, there feels like there's just as many frustrated emails and short-two-ships-passing-in-the-middle-of-global-time-zone-differences phone calls.

It sounds so cliche of me to say it, but the past 17 months have shown me that, yes, it would have been oh so easy to just let her go and spare us both the difficulties. But then I would have missed out on the laughter, and the love, and the sweetness of reunion after long absences. It sounds so silly, but it's so easy to give up, to not put in that effort. But seeing her smile, or hearing her laugh again makes every moment apart worth it. Letting her go 17 months ago would have been a gigantic mistake.

For what it's worth, don't 'what-if' yourself to death. Jump in, hold your breath, and trust in the Universe. It's not easy at all. But just know that you aren't alone, and that many of us have walked, and are walking, that path that you're on.

fnsfwya said...

In case you didn't know already, there's a movie made after Atonement. Release date for the US is Dec 7th