And so we play our parts

IMG_20140315_162240All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And so he plays his part.
~William Shakespeare

Some weeks are weird. Rather, some weeks are weirder than others. There’s a lot competing for space in my brain.

A person I’d generally written off as a pretentious, self-absorbed blowhard did some really nice things when he thought no one was looking. But I saw. And I was reminded of what I tell my son, “No one is ever just one thing. All people have good and bad in them. Focus on the good. You’ll be happier.” I should take my own advice.

I did the right thing for the wrong reason. Any potential reward I might have received in Heaven is shot. Of course, this assumes I will one day be in Heaven and there are rewards for things done in this life. Who even knows if something as simplistic as what our minds can understand is really how it will be. I do hope the reward system is true, though. Mostly because I can name some amazing teachers who deserve to sit next to the warm chocolate chip cookies when they arrive.

I did the thing because I wanted to prove I’m a good person and worthy of love and belonging. Which is really stupid because if I look around me for two seconds, I see so many faces of people who love me and we belong to each other. But inside my head, I’m sometimes still 12 years old.

A family we know went to see a specialist for their daughter. They were sent there to confirm a terrible diagnosis. It turns out, the wretched, dreadful thing they were most afraid of is not true. Things are going to be alright. She must still be monitored, but for now, everyone can exhale.

That same day, another family we know lost their son in a car accident. If there are sadder words than, “is survived by his parents,” I can’t name them. There is a hole in their family now. It would be crass for me to speculate how they feel. It is unknowable to me. All there is now, is to hold hands.

As I’ve been watching all this play out this week, the good, the bad, the surprising, I keep asking myself, “Who’s in charge of the Shit Show, anyway?” But there’s no answer to that. Or at least no answer that will ever be satisfactory.

So I fall back on the only things I know that will ever fully true:

Life or life: This strange situation we find ourselves in, with no clear answers or meaning–well, you know, I mean besides love, or Love; taking care of the poor; and being amazed by beauty.
~Anne Lamott

Today I will love my family. I will hug them just a few seconds longer. Because I can. I will drop off some clothes at Goodwill and canned goods at the food bank. I will make sure to watch the sunset on the river when we’re down there for soccer practice this evening. I will breathe in and out, and I will pray.

And so we play our parts.


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