Usually I'm all about looking at the bright side. I mean, seriously. I've been through foreclosure, I've almost had my car repo'ed. I'm living at less than paycheck to paycheck and I look forward to every fucking Sunday of every fucking week because that's the one day that bill collectors generally do not call me.
My birthday this week? Gonna be 45. And all I can think is Wow. Half way to 90.
Go team me.
Obviously, at the moment, my optimism is flagging.
This morning I'm at work. I step out to smoke and it's still dark, before 5 a.m. The parking lot is empty, the streets are quiet.
It's snowing, but so lightly that it's almost eerie. I look up and the snow is glitter. Lit by the parking lot lights. Against the black sky. Sparkling down like magic.
I move to toss my cigarette in the ashcan and find a piece of snow-wet paper attached to the top of the trash can with a chewed piece of gum. I pull it off, brush the gum aside with one gloved finger and read, expecting someone's grocery list or a banal religious tract. We get stuff like that in the store all the time and I find them amusing, if not completely unrealistic. But this ... this was a little different ~
'Go placidly amid the noise & haste, & remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their stories.
Avoid loud & aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is, many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strengthened spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many tears are born of fatigue & loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, & whatever your labors & aspirations. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace within your soul. With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.'
No. This did not change my life. I am not suddenly unburdened and rich, but ... for a moment, for a day ... for just *now* ~ it made me feel better. And I'm keeping this dried and wrinkled and stained piece of paper. If only to remind myself that there is a reason for everything. That I have a right to be here. That I am not completely ... lost.