Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Existential Blabber

Unedited blabber follows. Sorry if it doesn't make much sense. Doesn't make much sense inside my head, either.

Last night I was lying in bed trying to sleep. You'd think it would be easy to sleep when I'm so exhausted. But sometimes I have little control over where my brain goes, and last night it wanted to ponder free will vs. destiny.

I'd like to believe that everything happens for a reason. That would be comforting. The whole idea that "if you don't get something you really wanted, that means there's something better waiting for you" is a great one. Win-win for everyone.

I used to believe that. I used to be kind of new-agey, in fact. I used to throw the I ching and consult the tarot, and I used to believe that if I just plugged into the rhythms of the universe, the universe would tell me what to do. You know, be in the "flow" and all that.

When we were trying to decide whether or not to pursue a move to Portland, G. asked for some signs. He thought, "If my private practice goes down, I'll know we should move."

His practice tanked. Financially, it sucked, but he did ask for it.

We drew tarot cards. I forget what they were, but I remember that the basic message was something about transformation (when is it not?) and embracing change.

Then he got mugged at an ATM before Christmas (he actually ran away and the guy didn't get any money, but geez). He thought this was another sign that we should leave the Bay Area.

I told him perhaps if he was going to ask for a sign, he should ask to win the lottery.

He joined Major HMO down here with the intent on transferring up there eventually. So when a position came open that was the exact same position he holds here...we thought, "Hey! It must be time!" They asked him to fly up, there were few other candidates and the position had been open for some time. His Oregon license came through. Perfect!

Then....The House! His sister's friend had an extra house lying around and decided to get rid of it. Perfect location, a coveted neighborhood that we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise, old tree-lined street, around the corner from the elementary school, vintage fixtures, etc. She wanted to sell to us and was willing to give us a deal for the convenience of a direct sale. There was a little cottage in the back that we could use as a private practice office and save on rent and taxes - perfect!

G's practice went down again - which was actually a good thing this time, because it would make the practice easier to close as we prepared to move. His mom and sister, who walked down the street of The House often, said the worst thing they could see was the god-awful color of another house down the block. When G. went up there for his interview, he saw painters getting ready to repaint that house a regular neutral.

I was concerned about leaving the boys' friends here - we have a great group of neighborhood friends with whom they play daily in our safe little cul-de-sac. Turns out the street in Portland has a bunch of kids right in their age range.

Now, I'm not trying to whine here. I'm trying to figure out why the signs looked so good. Why did everything fall into place only to fall apart? I'm not thinking "Why us?" - I mean, hey, we're luckier than most, I know. But how could we have been so wrong?

I want to believe everything happens for a reason, but the truth is, I don't. I believe in a greater Spirit of some sort, but whether it's inside of us or outside of us, I don't know. I don't believe that God is up there counting prayers and saying, "Congratulations! You've got cancer but you got a whole congregation to pray for you, so you get to survive!" or "You're such a special person, you get to have some really bad stuff happen to you."

I think shit happens. Lovely people with kids get sick or have accidents. Kids themselves get sick or have accidents. People who would make wonderful parents can't get pregnant and crack addicts abandon their 10th drug-addicted infant.

I don't know what's bringing on this existential crisis. Ever since I hurt my head, I've had this weird reaction where I'm scared to death (hah) of dying too soon. I've always been philosophical about death - my mother died when I was 21, and death is part of life, yada yada yada.

Yeah, but now I've got this gorgeous little redhead boy, and a beautiful little baby with such sweet dimples who survived his own life-threatening "event," and the stakes are so much higher. It was one thing to have faith when I was single and I just hoped the Universe would send me someone to marry. It's quite another when my little boys are my life and my heart and I don't want to leave them.

Maybe it's a delayed reaction to the whole brain thing. Maybe it's just a midlife spiritual questioning. (Damn. I'm old enough to have something be described as "midlife.") Mostly, I'm just tired of trying to read the signs. Maybe I just need to increase my meds. Maybe I'm grieving the end of this year's TV season.

I remember when I met G., I thought, "Oh my goodness, I'm going to marry this guy." I was shocked. Now, there came a time a few years later when I thought, "Damn. I guess I was wrong." But it turned out that I was right and here we are. I have a client who's trying to figure out whether or not to leave her boyfriend. She's so torn, but she believes that there is a correct answer. She believes that if she just reads the signs right, she'll make the right decision. I don't know. I guess we just do the best we can with what we have.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day, "My religion is kindness." I like that.


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