A willingness to look

Okay then ... up before 5:00 in the morning again. Sheesh! What is it? Sun spots? Moon phases? Midsummer? Midlife? Pretty silly to be up at this hour if you ask me. But here I am. Not exactly rarin' to go, either. But definitely not going back to sleep.

Last bit of "class" today. The class meetings are over, but this last bit is a meeting with the instructor. Each student receives the instructor's recommendations for using (or not using) PLA as a way to obtain credits for the degree the student is pursuing. I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say. And of course, I am also wishing that I could find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow so I could pay for the whole thing.

This is a good day for this appointment. It will be nice to have someone tell me what I am capable of, and talk to me about possibilities. I'd like to see some more pieces of this back-to-school puzzle, even if I can't figure out how to put it all together yet.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the car broke last night! It just ... stopped going. After using this car for the 50 mile drive into Portland and the 50 mile drive home (with a couple of stops on the way), the thought did occur that the timing could have been worse. At least the car made it all the way back to our own town and the bottom of the long hill up to our house before it got into its mood.

And we still have no financial aid letter from one son's college for the fall, and the other one - for the other son - was pretty lousy. It won't stop them, though. They're going to do what it takes.

And I had an appointment with the Chinese medicine people yesterday, where I will be getting as much acupuncture, herbal, and advising support as I can, both before and after the surgery I will have to have next month. Surgery - not good news. Chinese medical support for the whole thing - couldn't have it any better. I am grateful to live here, where the different ways can help each other.

And I got an answer to my request for a particular bit of music I heard on Ancient Faith Radio. "This music was recorded by Sts. Constantine and Helen Orthodox Church in Colorado Springs. The bad news is that it is not commercially available. The good news is that Fr. Anthony Karbo at the parish has given us permission to make CDs if people request it."

That's how it goes these days.

It's funny to me sometimes. A couple of decades ago, the "bad news" part of the "I have good news and bad news" routine seemed to me to weigh slightly more. It seemed to be a warning - or a punishment - or a sort of day of reckoning. My life couldn't be as good as I thought it was, right? See what happens? Aren't happy all the time, are you, Miss Smarty? See? This is real life. Not that dream world you live in. For awhile there, my childhood's habit of happiness seemed merely childish.

Eventually, though, I remembered a few things.

I remembered that the "bad news" of the rough practice sessions for choirs, or the backaches at the piano bench, or the sore leg muscles of a long hike are not signals of errors. They are signals of work. And in this life, some things (like Faith, or Hope, or health or creativity) have to be worked at. That's not a bad thing.

I remembered that it's silly - and selfish - and really childish - to complain when when a gift is being given to me, just because I wanted a blue one instead of a red one. The bad and the good together, the easy and the hard, the expected and the unexpected ... why would I think it would be other than that?

And would I really want that? Would I really want a life where I already know every challenge or difficulty ahead of time? Well, no, actually. First of all, there's the obvious fact that we can't "handle it" until it is in our hands. Trying to anticipate "handling it" would make me stay in bed forever. We cannot know our strength or our weaknesses ahead of time. It just doesn't work that way.

But there's this other thing.

You know what I'd miss out on if I needed all my news to be good news?

The sheer joy of the surprise view. That's what I would miss.Sometimes the beauty of the unexpected view just about knocks me over. Every once in awhile, I come around a corner in my life, and POW! There it is. Glory. Exquisite beauty. There is no way to prepare for life's changes and chances - the bad ones or the good ones either. There is only the question of building a life that is willing to look.

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