The crazy, busy weekend has come to an end, and the cats are happy to claim their fair share of attention.
It was really lovely spending a few days with my daughter, son-in-law and grand furries, but at the end of the 2 1/2 hour drive, I was glad to be back in my own home, surrounded by my own furry children. Rather than do the normal, post vacation chores like unpacking and laundry, everyone was happy for a lazy rest of the day cuddling and reading (I did the reading, they did the cuddling!). As everyone follows me around the house, making sure that I’m not leaving again any time soon, I love being back in my own space, with a night of sleeping in my own bed taunting me gently as I type. Of course, it also means that I have to stop every few minutes and drag someone out from behind my monitor where all of the cords and wires for my computer lurk and make for a treacherous place for cat naps.
I had grand intentions for taking out trash, unpacking and doing laundry, but a lazy day with the cats and an e-book seemed to hold more appeal than doing chores which can just as easily happen tomorrow!
I guess this has always been my approach to life in general and to the raising of kids and cats. The chores will always be there, but the special times we spend cuddling, reading, taking walks and sharing laughs are so precious and should always take precedence because the opportunities are fleeting. Kids grow up, cats grow old and pass (and many times pass before they grow old), life’s responsibilities wear us down. Those moments of closeness and laughter are truly what makes life worthwhile. Friends I’ve had over the years who put the cleanliness of their house and the timing of their meals before the laughter and cuddles were, in my opinion, always the worse for it. They were typically the ones who judged me and found me wanting because I wanted and needed fun in the lives of me and my kids. They were also the ones who spent a lot of time complaining about their lives. Seems to me that just a little more laughter would have eliminated a lot of the complaining! Even worse, they were old before their time.
I see one friend in particular who seemed older than I am now when she was a good fifteen years younger than I am right now. By the time she was my current age, she was difficult for me to be around because she shrouded herself in her negative energy. Thinking about it, even her animals had endless health issues! Was it any wonder that it took something which, in hindsight was small and insignificant to end the friendship? The truth was, I outgrew her long before that time when I chose laughter and gratitude over duty and complaints. I know that my own joy and dismissal of her complaints was uncomfortable for her as well.
I honestly believe that we’re all given periods in our lives when things don’t seem to work well for us, just to see how we’re going to handle them. There’s nothing wrong with going all gloom and doom once in awhile either. It gives us a point against which we can measure those moments of joy, and teaches us how to take a setback and turn it into something better than an immediate success might have become. Heaven knows I had years when I wallowed in misery, though the misery paled in comparison to what came before.
Making the slow climb out of the pits of despair.
We’ve all been through them. The doldrums, the lower than lows, the times when it feels like it takes all of the strength we have just to keep our chin from dragging on the ground. Most of us eventually found a way out, but it wasn’t by taking a giant leap from despair to joy. Like just about everything else we do, we did it in baby steps. Despair gave way to grief, grief gave way to sadness, sadness gave way to ennui, and eventually, we rose above our own, personal darkness to find happiness, and for the luckiest of us, joy and rapture and ecstasy. If we’re honest, though, we admit that staying at that high point takes effort as well, and most of the time, we slide back to happy or content and can stay there for awhile before climbing back up to the pinnacle. Each backslide and each climb teaches us more about ourselves; what it takes to keep us joyous, how little it takes before we lose the glow.
What I’m really trying to say is that we find our own balance through a lot of trial and error, and what may be balanced for one aspect of our life isn’t necessarily going to be comfortable when it comes to something else. Not to mention the fact that balancing one area can send another flying into the air without a net! Yet, while we’re trying very hard to walk the high wire which stretches across the mile high chasm of our lives, we need to give ourselves a break from taking it all way too seriously, and just step back and laugh at our seemingly fruitless efforts and realize that the chasm is only as deep as we allow it to be. If we can learn to see that chasm as being only a foot or two beneath our feet, stepping off the wire won’t be such a big deal. At that point, we can throw caution to the wind and get more creative about our movements because the worst that can happen is that we take a couple of steps back before moving forward again.
Which raises another question. Is forward necessarily the answer to every question? Are there times when the best solution is to go sideways or even, backwards? If we stop painting ourselves into a corner where mistakes have dire consequences, we’ll have the opportunity to explore alternative solutions, and even find that a more creative solution gives us unexpected and rather desirable results.
All roads lead to Rome, but the best choice might not be the shortest route.
This whole thing brings to mind the conversations I’ve been having with my daughter about the best route between her new home and mine. The most direct route is also highly traveled, and more likely than not to be hindered by construction, extreme traffic conditions and accidents. Other routes might be considered because they require a minimum of freeway changes. Ultimately, I’ve settled on one which might mean changing freeways four times, but is less heavily traveled, is less plagued by construction crews and means that the longest leg of the trip is a straight shot down a single, main highway. Despite the fact that it’s about twenty miles further, travel time is the same or significantly less as hazards are few. And so goes life. The best path may not be the shortest or the quickest, but it satisfies other requirements far better in the long run. There really is a lot to be said for the phrase: “taking the long way home”.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I’m grateful for short trips that remind me how good it is to be home.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to leave home…and come back.
3. I am grateful for a home full of furry children who are happy to see me, whether I’m gone an hour or several days.
4. I am grateful for crazy, busy weekends followed by slow, steady weeks.
5. I am grateful for abundance which is there for the asking: love, happiness, harmony, peace, joy, health and prosperity.