34 to go

16 02 2010

I thought that the first part was the hardest part – but I think this half is really the killer.  We are on the downward slope.  It should just be a coast from here till Spring but this is when things get really tough.  I don’t like how the radio announcer has a smile in her voice telling us to expect snow the next three days.

Just about a year ago, we got away for the vacation of a lifetime…and now it seems like a lifetime ago, but it wasn’t. Looking at all the photos quietly nestled in my iPhoto library brings some small measure of satisfaction as I re-create the days in my head.  I was there.  It did happen.  I was a lucky, lucky girl.

Then there’s this year.  Lots of things have pressed in making such extravagance absolutely out of the question.  And I’m OK with that.  Really I am.  Really.  Seriously.  No, I really mean it.

This is when the gray seeps into my brain – when Spring seems like it will never ever return again.  There might not ever be another night sitting on the porch in the dark listening to the cicadas.  Surely, something has gone wrong with global warming and we’ll be stuck here in late winter – never to get out. It seems as if every commercial on TV points in the direction of warmer climes.  Target looks like a color wheel exploded and hatched little swim suits and cover-ups even though it hasn’t been warmer than 30º in months.  A friend is headed to Costa Rica…others, Jamaica – still others to Florida.  Best Boy posted an innocent picture of something lovely from Santa Barbara and it sent me careening over the edge.

In an impromptu puke session the other day, the Dr. and I reflected a bit about the very Western mind-set that oozes from every pore of our beings.  You know – the one that says we should seek personal satisfaction and fulfillment in every arena of our lives.  Our jobs should be fulfilling our deepest longings and our “giftedness”.  Our dinner parties should be warm, intimate events with meaningful conversations and long drinks of wine. Every occasion should be a celebration of life.  Our vacations should be…

Who do I think I am to be entitled to any of that?  Do the people in Mumbai living in the slums think these thoughts?  There are thousands of families in Michigan alone still losing their homes to the mortgage crisis and they aren’t thinking about being “foodies”.  There are kids in the inner cities all over this country that may never get out of a six block area.  The earthquake in Haiti DID happened but it seems to have taken a back seat to a big snow storm that took over the headlines. When I am done pouting about how my life doesn’t measure up and I get over being angry that circumstances in my life don’t allow me to do what I want to do…I pause long enough to take a deep breath and an honest inventory of what IS.

There are two cars parked beside my very warm house.  There is enough stuff hanging in the closets to keep dozens of families in threads for a long time.  Our bills have been paid every month during this last year. I have gone to the store to buy groceries every time we were out of essential things like oreos and ice cream.  We have electricity and hot water – clean water for that fact. We live in excess.  Lots and lots of excess.

Suddenly, I hear Billy’s voice echo in the darkest recesses of my spoiled, self-absorbed brain…”Quit your belly achin’!”  So, I will suck it up and get back to my basement.  There’s no better therapy than some early Spring cleaning to unload some of this excess baggage.

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