These Miraculous Days

Some days are picture perfect–big and bright, colorfully nuanced, blooming like a show-offy prize-winning rose.

Those are the days when you wake three minutes before the alarm, energetic and enthusiastic to take on whatever-may-come. The days when the sunlight glints on every surface and the temperature is just right, not too warm or too chill. The days when one steaming mug of coffee or bone China cup of Darjeeling is all it takes to get you going and the whole grain toast pops up at exactly your preferred degree of doneness. The days when even your dog keeps in perfect rhythm with your step the whole jog around the block, foreshadowing good things to come.

Those are the days when your clothes don’t need ironing and they fit better than the last time you wore them and the color of your blouse enhances the rosy blush in your cheeks. When you catch every green light on your way and everyone you pass smiles and even the conflict you knew to anticipate dissolves into nothingness. When you find an unexpected check in the mail alongside the oh-so-fun Etsy package you ordered as a birthday gift for your neighbor, and your kids have managed to prepare a simple meal that you don’t have to salvage.

Those days are miracles. You fall into bed three minutes before bedtime and breathe in and out a deeply contented sigh, “Miraculous.”

Other days are simpler, quieter, like an uncomplicated autumn yellow chrysanthemum.

Those days you might wake up with the alarm. You might also hit snooze a time or two. You down two mugs of coffee and put on an extra layer before leashing the dog who yanks hard toward every other bush, which makes you slightly late so that you have to cut your route short.

Those are the days when you try on three outfits before settling on the one that needs ironing but to save time you toss it in the dryer on the “wrinkle release” setting while you take an extra slurp of coffee. The toast doesn’t exactly burn, but it’s disappointing–and you know life is too short for disappointing toast–so you chunk it in with the dog’s food and grab a yogurt cup instead.

Those are the days when, like your dog peeing on every other bush, you hit every other red light. When your preoccupied boss doesn’t smile but that might not mean anything and your work requires more concentrated effort yet you find yourself daydreaming out the window while the warm breeze tosses the leaves like fun-size candy on Halloween. When the mailbox contains bills and political ads and the kids are squabbling and no one can agree on what you should prepare for dinner.

Those ordinary days aren’t bad. They are most days, typical, unexceptional, average days…and they’re still miraculous.

Muck

I like cute-creative Halloween. Not ghosty-ghouly-gorey Halloween.

Like the year Tween dressed as a skeleton on Hawaiian vacation: skeleton costume plus grass skirt with Mardi Gras beads and puka shells topped with a straw hat. Cute, creative, and made us all laugh.

As I walk the dog through decked out neighborhoods, I continually avert my eyes to the dog, to my own plodding feet, to avoid the grossing-me-out décor. Pumpkins and hay bales, all good. Severed bloody limbs hanging from trees? No way.

I do the same with social media and news reports, which these days seem about the same. But even as I ignore insensitive comments, I can’t help arguing with them in my head. Did they read or hear the same info I did? Then how in the world did we come to such different conclusions?

How in the world, indeed. How in the world…

The other day I heard someone comment that we’ve had a bad week, oh, for about a year now.

Yes. That feels spot on.

As that comment ricocheted around my brain, I recognized that I feel increasingly, steadily, angry. Naturally an optimist, I seem to have lost myself, as I can’t find much about which to be optimistic.

I hate how noisy the world has become, with everyone shouting at one another. Not only disagreeing—never mind agreeing to disagree—but hating on one another.

Here’s what I hate:

I hate that our country’s issues have piled up like bricks in a wall, with friends and family members on either side hurling invective and brandishing pitch forks.

I hate that those with power refuse to even listen to those without power, as if they don’t have a right to an opinion, or their own perspective based on their own experience. Nope, they’re just wrong.

I hate the struggle to defend myself as a woman working in a man’s world. And the apparent inability of men to see that that is my experience. (And if I feel this way, as a white, middle class working woman, I truly cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like to be someone without as much privilege.)

I hate that life can be so hard, that people I love hurt so much for so many reasons and there is little I can do about it.

In so many ways, I feel stuck. Like one of our favorite children’s books, I’m one duck stuck in the muck and I want to cry, “Help, help, who can help?”

But I don’t cry, because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of sounding ridiculously needy. I’m afraid of being that vulnerable. I’m afraid of being accused of losing the faith, of being faithless. I’m afraid I won’t hear the right response, “We can, we can!” I’m afraid we’re all stuck in this muck.

I had a conversation yesterday about the title of my blog, “Miracles in the Mundane,” that there truly are bright, sparkly miracles in everyday life if we open our eyes to see them.

I still believe that. I do.

It’s just harder to find miracles in the muck. So, tired as I feel already, I must keep digging.

Maybe we should all try. Put down our burdens and instead start digging and looking for miracles. Because, honestly, that would be the best help.