I can’t say “abides” without thinking “The Dude.”
I have had a pretty good life. If one were to lay out its contents–events, artifacts, the things I’ve made out of sticks and rocks and string, other people’s memories that I always love to know–the balance of the timeline rides above average. Lately, things seem far above average. As a reformed realist, I believe that things will continue on an upward trend.
Optimism did not come naturally to me, no matter how many flowers you may have seen in my hair between 1987 and 1995, 1998 to present. Or how much I smiled. I smiled more when I worried more.
This pretty good life gives me genuine smiles, not camo-smiles. My happy-safe mommy-face rarely feels too close to the fire, ready to slip off like warm wax, to expose the simmering worried what-ifs to the people I cared, care so much about. The maybes-what-ifs-oh-no-my-gods happened, even some that I hadn’t known to worry over, some so terrible that they only happen to Other People, and every one not as terrible as what I might have imagined if I’d let my worried self go there.
My mother used to tell me that ignorance is bliss. In the convoluted and accidental way one takes good advice, I did a dumb thing and stopped going to college to paint beautiful things, stopped using my skills to make flower arrangements, wedding cakes, set decorations, fancy dresses, tattoos, murals, and later, craft projects to end all craft projects. I started nursing school, and then finished with a different degree entirely constructed of the specific whats and whys of why the world is a mess or not. Of course, it is a mess, but everything everywhere is a mess. I made myself a little more aware, a little less ignorant, accidentally.
Why do I have bliss, now?
Now, when I’m only looking down, down, past the point when I should have peaked? I recently had a nice party with a few people I best like to hang out with, which happened to celebrate a marriage to my best friend. That’s one thing. My small person thrives, glows. gives me stabs of love so deep that I wonder if she’ll kill me someday. That’s another thing. And the love, oh, all of this love I’ve been lugging around my whole life, the love that used to feel like a liability, can just float over my head where it belongs, the love that makes me want to hug people and tell them that the worries get smaller, that the world is really actually benevolent, that even when you’re getting kicked around or worse, when you’re the foot in the boot that thinks it needs to do the kicking to survive, love abides.