Although there are moments when the good is super good, and the bad is beyond believable, it seems to me that it’s always the best of times, the worst of times. And in my house at least, the best and the worst can both be happening on any given day, sometimes at the same time!
Like the mail and new babies, good news (and bad) arrives when it arrives.
So what does that mean for the recipient of said such news? I’m learning that it has something to do with the ability to manage constant transitions. There’s that moment of shock, upon hearing the news, followed by the requisite adjustments necessary for incorporating welcome and/or unavoidable information into the day.
Bad news can leave an unpleasant film that clings to every thought. Good news casts a sheen on mundane duties, making tasks and chores more pretty and pleasant than they might otherwise be. But whether it nourishes or curdles, news sticks to the ribs. It can energize—or weigh us down, body and soul.
I still haven’t yet learned how to incorporate news smoothly into a busy day. It tends to untether me, and I wander through the house, adrift, until I find my moorings again. I also feel suddenly restless, and the only cure seems to be minor housework, the mindless picking up, putting away, and setting straight that involves the hands and feet but lets the heart and mind do their own thing. This helps to settle me down and gets the house in order to boot!
What I’m coming to recognize is that whether the news is good or bad, ultimately—with rare instances—it gets put on its appropriate shelf, and life and the day go on.
This has been a year of good news/bad news in my house, with some joyous highs and sickening lows. Sometimes the news has played with my mind. Other times it has rocked the foundations. As the year ends I see that all the many smaller moments have added up to bigger transitions and I’m not standing anywhere I thought I would be at this point in time. So things are quite different even though I’m the same me.
But not really. In ways that no one can see because they reside within, I’m not the same person I was on January 1, 2012. The changes that have occurred—the events that I thought would change my life and therefore change me—have turned out to be like grains of sand in comparison to the seemingly minuscule moments that swept through me in large waves.
It many cases it was a simple comment that forged (forced?) a transition.
Poets are always talking about “the right word.” That seems to be my circumstance, the right (or wrong) word uttered or heard that shifts the direction a relationship or path takes.
Sometimes I’ve dared to speak up. Other times, I learned to bite my tongue, or learned the hard way that I should have bitten my tongue… I’m discovering how to be a more careful listener, which is helping me become a better communicator. And above all I’m learning that as much as words mean to me, sometimes that’s all they are—words—so let it go.
Although I’ve focused more in this post on transition, I think it really concerns revision. Life is seldom do or die, and we get many chances for a redo, if we’re willing to see them for what they are, swallow our pride and our fear, and leap with conviction and a bit of humor into the unknown.
Most often, I belly flop. But if as first you don’t succeed and never try, try again, you might not end up where you long to be—with two book contracts or getting early acceptance to a college or enjoying new and real friendships or spending a week’s vacation sitting in a tree stand or riding the carousel at Hershey Park with extended family while celebrating a niece’s birthday or acing a test that will set you on the path to your dream career.