When the Gods close one door for you, they often make good and sure they’ve got your fingers in the doorjamb first.
Yesterday was just one of those days, watching thing after thing go wrong, fall apart, fall over, from the trivial – my punctured tyre – to the epicly bad – a promise dishonoured that puts us in an awkward position. When the final one came in, there was nothing to do but laugh at the sheer ludicrousness of it. I had said only that morning how little faith I have in any ideas of safety, security or things being dependable. Ah, the smug joys of pessimism!
The big, critical things I’ve needed to have go right, have done so. The last year or so has been an intense exercise in finding out what I can’t do without, and what is not so important. Every ‘disaster’ is a lesson in what really matters. Yesterday’s blow had really knocked my mother, but there I was, shrugging, figuring out the implications and how to work round them. Another day, another betrayal, another solution.
There’s been no shortage of blows and losses. With each one, comes a process of refining and clarifying. A paring down to the bone, that used to shock and distress me, but as there’s less and less flesh to hack off, it hurts less, and the bones underneath turn out to be strong and reliable.
There’s a strength and certainty that comes from knowing what is essential, and what is not. It’s so easy to be bowed down even by the small setbacks, the tiny losses that seem enormous if you don’t have them in perspective. I lost my home. Which is nothing compared to keeping my emotional freedom and keeping my child safe. Financially I’ve been totally compromised – but I’m still viable, and that’s all that is needed. I could go on, down a long list of things stripped away. The loss of community hurts, but I still have contact with people so that’s not all gone. Friendship holds even at a distance, and people understand why I’ve had to cut and run.
What can I not do without? My awesome bloke and my brilliant child. Beyond that, we need a roof over our heads, enough money for the basics, and the rest, if needs be, we can muddle through on. While we have each other, while we have love and friendship and plenty of imagination, we can get by without most of the toys and distractions, if needs be.
The Gods slam another door, fingers are bruised. We stop and swear, and we nod in recognition. Yeah, we see you. Fine, you’re sending us another one? We’re still standing and there are still plenty of doors. We’ve got what matters most – we’ve got each other. The rest really is just detail.