Thursday, October 11, 2007

It Can ALWAYS Be Worse

As I was getting dressed this morning, I was thinking about a slew of amazing things. Like what defines a miracle, a human's capacity for pain, the realities of perfection. No, this isn't my usual thought process at 7:00 am, but last night a close friend gave birth to her first child, which also happens to be the first child of any of my close friends. It's a first for all of us. And it's the kind of first that can't help ushering all these rising thoughts about life, meaning, faith. To say I am overwhelmed with joy for the mom and dad is an understatement. What I am, I can't describe just yet, but it did lead me to think outside of my normal morning ritual, which goes more like this: "i hate getting up." "I want to live in the shower." "what should i wear?" "what's the first thing i'll eat?"

One thing that kept coming up was the notion that when we're feeling bad (you know, looking for a pity party, which I am certainly a serial invitee), people tend to tell us why we should be thankful. To remind us that we're lucky. But what I realized this morning was that people always do this in the negative; they remind us that it could be worse. Atleast you aren't living in Darfur, or dying of a painful disease, or fighting in Iraq. It's so strange that we're forced into playing the "there are so many worse things" game. It seems like it would be more logical to say, "but what about last weekend. That was so much fun." Or "we live in such a beautiful location." Why is it so much easier to think of all the things that could make life harder, but challenging to come up with the things that actually make life good?

I contemplated this long and hard while heading out the door for work. Instead of trying (that's the operative word) to be thankful for not being so many worse things, I was determined be thankful for the new life that's joined my friend-family. That was something positive, a net-gain. With this thought in mind it made it that much more difficult to truly express the anger that welled up in me at the sight of a large series of scratches across the left, front-side of my car. Scratches that had certainly not been there the last time I had driven it, maybe four days prior. But there they were, clear as day, on the side facing the street of course.

A scratch is a scratch is a scratch, but these are the worst scratches my car has ever seen. And I wasn't even involved in making them. There was no note with a neatly written name and phone number, no scrap of paper with even a scribbled apology. Nothing. Let me tell you something, when you're standing against your damaged Mazda with no note shaking your fist in the air, and you can see a Bentley and a Land Rover and a BMW across the street, you're really staring down at the injustices of karma. To be clear, a nick on my car does not trump the the birth of a baby in terms of emotional reactions, but I will say that the sensations of varying emotions left me mighty confused. Within minutes I was mumbling things to myself like "it could have been worse." And really, it always can be. But dammit, it can be better too.

Thus, while I will remain my ususal mix of fleeting hope and pessimism with just about everything else, today I can be thrilled about this baby girl.

Welcome Baby Taylin Anichka Witten-Hannah to come...

PS: Damn you, reckless city drivers.


Grandpa said...

Hi I am Taylin's NZ Grandfather. Good to read your comments and to know that there are other people whose lives have been changed by my beautiful granddaughter already.
I am so thankful for modern technology so that evn though I am on the other side of the Pacific Ocean I have jear her and seen her smile and rejoiced in the love her wonderful parents radiate for her.

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