“I’ve rethought it. I meant to say ‘lengthy and determined rumination on the Oxford comma.’”
-Jeffrey, January 14, 2012
Over the eight years I’ve been writing here, I have countless times stopped and asked myself: What am I doing? Isn’t this a waste of time and words and energy? Why do I do this anyway?
If you’re paying any kind of attention, life is full of confusion. It is full of pain and horror and disappointment. We live in a world where children are not just murdered in their classrooms on cold, quiet December mornings; we live in a world where children are murdered every day, sometimes even more cruelly. I don’t know what to say about people in the world who would kill hope. It is beyond my ability to understand. I think and think on it, and I always turn back to things I can comprehend.
Sometimes the universe makes beautiful stories.
I guess I have a brain that puts order to chaos, one that seeks to arrange observations and events to create a narrative structure, to see foreshadowing and symbols, to impose an ideal soundtrack. But sometimes the universe doesn’t need my help. Sometimes the most unlikely things happen. When I take my godson to the Empire State Building for the first time, he carries the same wallet my late husband carried the first time he and I went there, long before that godson was a person I’d even imagined. On a quest to get to the core of myself, I find my fifth grade journal full of signs of the adult I’d become, the person I’ve always been. I can’t count the times where a plane trip or a moment on top of a mountain or a time I walked across a bridge changed the course of my life.
Yesterday, a fresh coat of snow fell here on my new street, adding a glow to everything winter had made grey and ugly and dead.
Sometimes it can be as painful to look at the beautiful things in the world as it is the horror, because they are the same things: the things that matter. The things you love that can always go away. The things you hope for that may never happen.
I speak of librarianship as my calling, but, for me, it’s an expression of another calling. I feel like we all have a choice every day, to wake up and add to the horror in the world or to wake up and try to add to the beauty.
I want to add to the beauty–for myself, but for other people, too. Sometimes I have the good fortune to make a difference, to help in my small ways to make a day better. I stand in awe of that every time I realize it is happening, that I can have that kind of influence anywhere.
I live for those moments.
I will celebrate today by doing more unpacking. I’ll write and read. I’ll get some letters ready to put in the mail. I’ll play my piano. I’ll bake a few batches of cookies, so I can bring a plate of them every place I go over the next week.
Cookies are an excellent antidote to despair.
As are music and stories and laughter and friends and family.
As is a comma, used correctly.
I love so many people in this world, and I love so many things, and so many of them are right here.
I thank you, each one of you, for that.