Friday morning. You know the saying that, in the midst of life there is also death? I've been thinking about that this morning as I wrestle with my responsibilities at VLSCI and for my team.
Happiness at the holidays is what's expected, what's "supposed" to happen, and we feel so let down when our life doesn't work that way, but isn't that a little naive? There is no experience - ever - that is wholly happy or wholly sad. Even at funerals, there are usually moments of joyful reflection on memories that make us smile or even laugh. At weddings or baptisms, there are still some in the assembly who feel left out, as if it will never happen to them. Happy/sad, life/death, plenty/lack...they are all tied together and you can't have one or appreciate one if you don't have the other.
I mention this not to bring the party down but because it's been pushed right in my face this morning. Last night TCB and I had a fabulous time at the Poinsettia Bowl (Way to Go, Navy!!!), I've gotten lots done around the house, my fabulous house cleaners are scrubbing and polishing away as we speak, and several products (work stuff) that I didn't have a good feeling about are (apparently) going to ship right on schedule. Then I came in to work and, on the way in, I saw a dog that had been hit by a car just lying on the grass as though it were asleep. Once I got here, the other CASA for Alcott's siblings called and there's something really horrible happening with one of the kids. Right before Christmas. Finally, one of my team members called and told me that his dad hadn't had the stroke they'd thought but, rather, had a tumor on his brain stem and was losing control of various body parts. His father. At Christmas.
What I wanted to do was cry from the sadness, the injustice of it all - why do things like this happen at such a wonderful time of year? Why can't we just enjoy the wonderful things surrounding us without having to stop and deal with the sadness? That's when it struck me...the balance thing. Why wouldn't tragedy strike at the holidays? This week is no different than any other on the calendar so there will still be traffic accidents and robberies and children being abused, it's the fact that there is so much joy intermingled with the everyday swirl of life that makes it special.
And that, truly, is at the heart of the matter: celebrate with abandon those things that are good, special, and wonderful, mourn deeply those things that are tragic and horrifying, and then use the latter to help you appreciate the former even more. The bottom line is that there is no magic Wonderland but it's still a really Wonderful Life.