miscellany

it’s always the eleventh hour

No, I’ve not yet found a full-time job. But since my last post I’ve had a few things come my way that will allow me to have a roof over my head and food in my belly through the end of December. Another month in the most expensive city in the USA. It’s no small task.

I look back at the last six months and think of all the times I’ve been ready to call it quits in one way or another, and it seems to me there are two ways (at least) to view the ups-and-downs, the near misses, the close calls. I can see them as one bad wave after another that almost drowned me, or I can see them (in retrospect) as instances in which I was able (god knows how) to hang on just long enough for something to turn just a little bit better. It’s oh-so-easy to feel the former, and it’s my default mode. But I’m making a concerted effort to aim for the latter — if nothing else, it helps me hope for better days and instills faith that they will come, given enough time.

All this amidst inner turmoil (well, less dramatic than that sounds, but how would I phrase that?) surrounding various family issues and fears and happenings. My brother’s wedding was a trigger and/or catalyst for more feelings than I ever imagined or feared, and I’m still sorting through all of them (neither easy nor painless). Add to that a disagreement or two with The Philosopher regarding my family, and a lot of old wounds are open again.

But, seriously!, I only have time and energy enough for a small handful of battles at a time. I keep asking myself if I want to be right or happy, and most of the time I choose happiness, even though old grudges (some of them 30-odd years in the making) make that task a grumbling one.

All I can do is live each day with as much hope and faith as possible. They are tools I can use to handle fear, pain, and uncertainty with at least a pretense of grace. I don’t like the person I become when I value being right over being kind, over walking away even if I don’t get the last word. I don’t like living as though the other shoe is going to drop, and not only will it be a shoe but a size-fourteen steel-toed boot that’s going to hurt like hell. I don’t like going to bed at night dreading the thought of what will happen tomorrow.

So — tonight, at least — I’m looking back at all of the 11th-hour miracles I’ve been given through grace over the last six months (and six years). My mother used to say things have a way of working things out. I used to use that bromide to excuse my irresponsibility and foolishness: it’s okay to spend all the rent money, because things will work themselves out, or to stay out until 4am the night before a presentation, or put off renewing the tags on the car.

These days it’s a different sort of that same bromide: I don’t need to have all of the answers about how things will get sorted; I have faith (and hope) that they will, as long as I’m doing all of the things on my end that need doing. For the time being, that means the St Francis Prayer on a daily basis; meditating while saying “in with god” as I inhale” and “out with fear” as I exhale; making a conscious effort to improve my relationships with others; and sitting quietly/praying inside every church I pass, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

None of this changes my bank balance, my work situation, the troubles with my family or ex, my depression, or my other worries. But it all changes me, and that makes a world of difference. Or at least it can, if I want it to.

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