Yesterday I ran fast. I ran like I'm moving through life right now, focused singlemindedly on what's in front of me, trying not to trip, a little afraid to reflect too long. The scenery on either side is a little too serene, or too perfect, in relation to what my life feels like, or alternately, it reminds me of so much sadness in the world. I prefer not to look, not to think. Just to plow ahead.
But last week I ran with a lump in my throat, and this week my breathing was clear.
I often wake with sadness lingering in the air like someone else's perfume, oddly familiar, cloying and annoying. I shower to wash it away and most days that works, as I clean and stretch and begin marching through the requirements of a busy weekday. The busier I am, the better; idle times I let the dialogue begin, the voices asking why I didn't, haven't, or did. The should haves and could haves and might happens creep in and overwhelm sidles up beside me.
But busy as better seems no way to live and I count the unanswered emails, unseen friends, unwritten cards, unspent moments with my family. I imagine a less harried life, a simpler job, an unfettered mind. I think of the mortgage, the college tuitions, the opportunities my salary offers. I plow.
I hear the Buddhist exhortation to just be, as to dwell on the past is to regret and to look too far forward is to fear. Yet I'm having trouble sitting with myself, this self who isn't as fun, as funny, as interesting as I remember her. And there, regret again. I must learn to love her, this self, imperfect and foreign-bodied, impatient as she is.
I was told this third baby is here to remind me to live in the moment, and she lives so right now and in our faces gummy and gleeful I can't help but be with her, and her sisters, as she draws them to her, and to us. I hoped, when she was conceived, that she would bring more joy to our lives and so she does.
It's only left for me to better capture the joy and breathe it and hold it and live in it. More often.