green sprouts out of the cracked earth

Ordinary blessings do not exist because in the depths of struggle, every pinprick of light is a blessing. The trick is to remember, once out of the depths, that the light is everywhere; everything is a blessing.

Listen to me read this piece below:


 

“She could not let herself remember the lonely pleasures she found in living so simply, actually enjoying the renunciations and the economies that would some times make possible — what? — ordinary happiness. The kind of happiness she saw in the luncheonette, passed in the street.” — Home, Marilynne Robinson

I consider it to be a blessing that I can still feel a shadow of what happened toward the end of 2013, when my securities was stripped away from me; in actuality, I am still living the consequences of having my outsides peeled off. I am still raw and stumbling.

C told me earlier this week that his sister, the zookeeper, has acquired some new baby otters. They haven’t opened their eyes yet, he reported.

I wanted to see pictures. What I wanted to know was if they were still pink and helpless, and bore no resemblance to anything like an otter.

The crisis was a series of health crises. The crisis was ultimately being labeled by the insurance company as having an ongoing disability, and what that meant for my sense of self as a capable, or even extraordinary, person. The crisis was what happened to my little pack in this house as a result of everything shifting violently underneath us in earthquake country.

 

“Who would have thought it! A day like any other day, clear skies, a mild sun, yet suddenly everything is changed, utterly changed!” — Disgrace, JM Coetzee

I no longer believe that “ordinary blessings” exist.

Joan Didion says something similar in Blue Nights, the memoir that came after The Year of Magical Thinking. She mentions her daughter Quintana’s wedding. How things were hoped for Quintana — good health, children — things that were considered “ordinary blessings,” but never came to pass.

Ordinary blessings do not exist because in the depths of struggle, every pinprick of light is a blessing. The trick is to remember, once out of the depths, that the light is everywhere; everything is a blessing.

I keep a gratitude journal, designed by my friend Amy Gretchen.

From January 10:

The Studio Choo flowers died, but I’m getting new ones.
I still have lovely flowers right here.
My wits are about me. I am not currently psychotic.
People seem interested in having stock photos.
___ and I are collaborating on _____.

On January 14, I apparently could only come up with three things. (Try harder! I want to tell myself.)

Others:

Making it home safely.
The CT scan was easy.

Some days I left blank.

 

C and I went back to New Orleans for Christmas. It was the first time I’d seen Grandma D’aquin since Grandpa died last year, and because we were staying in a tiny house next to her tiny house, which had been built by her father, we spent most of our days with her and the Catholic TV station.

Her refrain in those days: “I have just been so blessed.” She would say this and nod, say it and nod. She said it on the night of Christmas Eve and on the last day that we saw her before flying back to San Francisco. She said it about her sixty-year marriage, about the turkey, and about the fact that Chris and I were able to come to Louisiana. I loved her for chattering on as if nothing strange was happening despite the fact that I was frequently laid out on the couch, unable to move.

 

These days, I’m often asked if I’m “better.” I never know what to say in response to this question. I am better in that I can function. I do client work; I’m actively building my business; I am writing; I’m able to plan.

Still: I don’t feel wholly like myself, yet, which is to say that I don’t recognize the person that I currently am.

I believe that I don’t recognize myself because I’m someone new. Today is the Spring Equinox. I lay in bed this morning next to C and listened to the finches singing as the sky shaded from black to blue. All of it is a blessing. All of this: blessings.