The low point came when I was describing to Michael a random and meaningless incident in my day. It was sort of a lemon juice moment to the paper cut of the days leading up to it, but nothing remotely horrifying. And anyway, I cried – just a little – and said something like everything is so unfair. Like, all the things. In the world. That’s basically what I said.
And then I drove away, because we were only on lunch break, and the rational, intelligent, perspective-filled Serenity blinked twice, rolled her eyes, and said, seriously? All the things. Like, the food and shelter and paid time off and three beautiful little men and stuff? All the things are unfair?
And then it really came home to me that night when the best-looking little eight-year-old on the planet told me he’d had a hard day. And I said, “Why was it hard?” And he said, “It’s a long story.” And then I got the story, every word of his little self trying to navigate this gigantic world with its gravelly playgrounds and relentless obligations and partner math. He was so exhausted just telling me all the little things that had gone wrong in this one small day in his universe. And the only thing I knew to say, as he lay face-down on the bed, and I rubbed the All Star logo on the back of his little blue bath robe, was that at least it’s over. THEN, the poor world-weary soul said something to the effect of how it all would start again in nine short hours, and I said, “But some days aren’t like this. Some days are good.” And then he said the most beautiful thing to any mama’s ears, “Most days are good,” he said.
I really think second grade curriculum on manners and world philosophy should probably be reinstated for grownups. “Let us all be kind,” Jake’s class sang at Christmas. “Let us cause no pain or harm. Let us all walk on arm in arm.”
Sometimes I feel just ridiculously fragile. And I think really most of us feel fragile a lot of the time. I click online sometimes with the unconscious thought, “Please be gentle,” because bad news and scandal and hate occasionally hit a person from every single angle before we can even finish breakfast.
Please be gentle. That’s what I want to tell the universe. And I can’t. Because the universe is wild and untamed. “Here is the world,” Felicity just quoted on Facebook from Frederick Buechner. “Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” We have to get there, People. I have to get there. I’ve been there before; I just forget sometimes. But the thing is, be still my heart, if an eight-year-old can do it, so can I. Maybe I can even do it, every single day, and still somehow have the resilience and flat-out unrelenting courage, to believe that most of them, as in – more of them than not, are good. That is the person I really want to be.