Did you miss me? I missed you all. Really, I did. So much has been happening in my life, so many times I’ve wanted to write but literally couldn’t find the time for much more than a quick Facebook post or a tweet. That’s right, dear readers. I’ve basically only been able to dedicate 140 characters or less to writing these days. So, let me catch you up. But I warn you, I’m about to go a little spiritual and words like God with a capital “G” might come up. So, if religion and the like gives you hives, you might want to pass on this post. Otherwise, read on.
So, the week before Thanksgiving, my parked car was hit by a drunk driver who also hit seven other parked cars near Temple University. It was a total mess. My car had to be removed from the scene by a tow truck and the repairs still aren’t complete. Needless to say, the driver doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover the damage and all of the related expenses associated with the accident. But we still had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Then the week before Christmas arrives and babygirl comes down with a stomach virus that lands her in the hospital. Soon after, everyone in my family comes down with the icky illness, falling like dominoes, one after the other. Everyone that is, except son number two. But still, we had a pleasant Christmas. The barfing stopped for that one holy day, only to resume the following day.
Luckily, everyone in our little kinky gazpacho family seemed healthy enough to travel down to North Carolina to visit with my parents for New Years. We got into a rental car (remember my car is still in the shop) and headed south. Well, the universe wasn’t done with us yet. On New Year’s Day, my poor mother was taken by ambulance to the hospital with what we thought was a nasty case of the flu, but turned out to be far worse. I almost lost my mother, dear readers, but luckily she is projected to make a full recovery. It seems almost silly to add that the day after my mother went into the hospital, son number two finally had his battle with the stomach virus. At that moment, my mother fighting for her life in the hospital and my son lying in bed trying not to puke his guts out, I had a moment of despair. I wanted to ask God, the Universe and anyone else who might have some answers, what I had done to deserve all of this, all at once. But, dear readers, I didn’t have time for any sort of real reflection or even time for a good cry. Life kept handing me buckets of puke and desperate calls from the hospital, plus two other kids to take care of, so when was there time to cry? I figured I’d have my breakdown later, like when I was back home.
But guess what? The breakdown never came. Instead, I made it back to Philly and I felt an unexpected sense of calm. After all that, I didn’t feel the anger or disappointment or depression I had expected. In fact, just yesterday I had such a moment of clarity about what has transpired in these last few weeks, it made me want to write it all down. Here’s what I realized. Yes, my car was totaled by a drunk driver, but I wasn’t in it and neither were my children. Yes, my whole family got sick at Christmas time, but we were all healthy enough on Christmas day to enjoy the magic of the holiday. And yes, my mother almost died, but she didn’t die. She is going to be okay. Dear readers, what I think I’ve just witnessed is grace. Yes, an incredible showing of God’s grace. I have seen the worst life can offer, but have been spared experiencing it fully. It’s like I’ve been taken to the edge of a cliff but a benevolent hand has kept me from falling.
I don’t know about you dear readers, but I think God/The Universe wants me to use this life to do great things. I don’t think I’m here by accident. I have seen how fast and easy it is for this life to be taken away, so I’m here testifying that I’m not going to waste my time here on earth. Every minute should count for something. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sign up for bungee jumping lessons, nor am I going to write a new novel every year. I just mean that I’m going to make sure I love the people I love. Hard. I will write the books I want to write. Well. And I will give myself permission to experience the things in this world that tickle my fancy. Now. Not later. Because clearly, later isn’t guaranteed.
So, this is really already too long for a blog post. If you’re still reading, thank you. If you have a story of your own to share that you think will make me smile, please share. I have a little bit more about the way I’m embracing this state of grace, but I’ll wait for the next post to tell you about it. Welcome to 2014, Meltingpot readers. I’m glad you’re here with me.