Between a Laugh and a Tear

We do not know what is going to happen.

god laugh

We don’t.

You can’t argue on this because it is true.

We can plan, but that’s about it. Well, I suppose we can hope. Of course, we can work. But even the most strong willed person cannot make everything she wants to happen. God. Fate. Karma. Something can and almost always will interfere with human plans.

Are we at the mercy of unknown devils then? Those devils that interfere with dates, keeping us single and unfulfilled? What about the baby devils: unexpected joys or sorrows knock people off their feet. Unemployment has lots of minions it likes to spread around, wreaking havoc with our lives, doesn’t it? Disease keeps its own special brand of fiends to send out into the world – no one is safe. And, of course, death sneaks in through the cracked door just when we least expect him. We really don’t know.

How about some examples? Let’s make this is a little more concrete, shall we? Did my friend know five years ago that she would meet one of the loves of her life when she met an old classmate for a drink? Was I thinking about returning to Iowa on that hot June day in 2000 when I was moving to Georgia? What do you think my dad might have had to say if he could have foreseen the hideousness of Parkinson’s disease before he was diagnosed?

plan aNo, we really don’t know what the hell is going to happen. But we keep going. We are resilient. We adjust our plans ever so slightly. Not a dream job, but a good job. Kids leave their hockey equipment on the stairs, but they are laughing and eating pizza in the basement. Or maybe our adjustments are a little bit bigger. We love unexpected babies. We have joyful reunions despite the funeral. We stay up late. We get up early.

Someone once asked me – in a sincerely concerned way – if I were ever happy. (I guess my resting bitch face was working overtime that day.) My answer is pretty simple: No. I don’t know that I have ever been happy. I have been unhappy. I have felt ambivalent. Lately, my overriding feeling is contentment. I told that inquirer that I really didn’t know if happiness needed to be the goal to which she replied, “Everyone needs to be happy!”

I disagree. Maybe the goal is to just live. Keep those demons at bay when we can, and adjust when we can’t. Maybe the goal is to drink wine with our friends; be there when times are hard; enjoy a sunny day; give advice; and, try to go to sleep contented.

It’s simplistic perhaps, but I really wonder if we don’t make life harder than it has to be when we refuse to roll with the punches. Think about it.

Join me.



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