Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Little wonders trump big anxieties

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

This is the chorus of a sweet little pop song by Rob Thomas that's been running through my head since, oh, about July when Sweet Boy turned 3. As those of you closest to me know, I've become a sentimental, mushy, teary mess in the last few months, mostly because I'm watching this amazing little person grow and change every day, and even though I don't really miss the baby times, I feel that it's all going way too quickly. If you're not familiar with this song, take a listen:

It seems in the last couple years the daily, mundane concerns that we all deal with -- debt, bills, our kids' safety, our spouse's happiness, our boss's expectations -- have been compounded by the currents in the country and the world. This has been further compounded for me by the fact that all of this poo started hitting the fan right around the time I became a parent and homeowner with a ridiculously large mortgage, which of course made me an official adult with officially large responsibilities. Frankly, I am not sure I like it, all this adulthood nonsense, but it is what it is.

As much as I try to live my life aware of but not completely caught up in the gigantic threats looming always overhead -- war, terrorism, economic collapse, agh! -- every now and then I succumb to one of these big ol' nasties, and I get really worried about something that's completely beyond my control. (And sometimes, as is the case this week, the stuff I'm afraid of is frankly a bit beyond my comprehension.)

But did you ever just have one of those moments when you think to yourself, wow, look how good my life is right now in this minute? Self, you must hang on to this one moment, just in case it all falls apart while you sleep tonight or while you go about your day tomorrow. I think these are the little wonders Rob Thomas is singing about. I experienced such a moment tonight. I was in the kitchen clearing dishes, watching my husband and son play football in our backyard. The sun had set, but there was just enough light for me to see their beaming smiles, and it was quiet enough that their giggles seemed to echo off the trees. An inexplicable calm settled on me -- a rare moment when I just thought, yeah, this is it, this is what it's all about. I'm thinking this is what a Buddhist would call being in the moment. It was lovely.

And then suddenly I heard a voice on the TV, which was on CNN in the other room. I'd missed the nightly news, so I'd put the tube on in the background, just to hear the headlines. Big mistake. I think it was Lou Dobbs and some other talking heads, all riled up about the economic baloney that's taking place. They were bandying about bogeyman phrases like "total economic ruin," and "collapse of the world economy." It reminded me of one of those blockbuster disaster movies, the scene when the anchor man calmly tells the viewer that a meteor is headed toward New York City, then the camera pans around from one worried, stricken face to another. At one point, the CNN guy said something along the lines of "Americans don't scare easily." Ha. Really? You're doing a fabulous job of stirring up some scare, friend, and I'm pretty sure all your ratings are based on American fear.

Anyway, this juxtaposition of ideal suburban existence that was taking place in my backyard against the screaming, panic-inducing all-news network in the background really caught me up. Of course I immediately turned off the TV. Then I stood at the back door and just soaked in some of that scene instead -- the two sweaty, laughing fellas rolling in the grass who make up my entire universe. And I thought, OK, who cares if the entire world economy collapses? I've got enough right here. Plenty of small hours, little wonders all around me. The rest will fall away.

(Remind me next time I start freaking out about presidential campaigns, investment banks, pointless wars, or anything else that's way beyond my control, ok?)

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