December 15, 2010

in an instant

The first thought that my brain formed in my head yesterday morning was (the famous quote), "You are only as happy as you make up your mind to be."  That quote got me through the day.

As I wrote in a note to my friend, Mira, yesterday, 2010 has not been a banner year for us.  I take that back...there has been a banner flying over us, it would seem, but the word scrawled across it is "loss."

This year I have lost a grandmother (in-law, if you want to be technical) to death of old age, a sister-in-law to divorce, and a child cousin to a horribly tragic accident.  Daniel's sister has lost her life, as she knew it, to her baby girl's congenital defects.  My grandmother battled cancer this year, and has lost some of her vitality.  Another of my cousins is in chemo right now, losing weight, I'm sure, and hair, and the notion that these things only happen to other people.  An uncle was handed an eventually-fatal diagnosis, and has lost the dream of growing old with his wife.  Another cousin lost her job, out of the blue, and has had to move back in with her parents.  I lost my childhood home to the economy.  Miscarriages have been announced this year almost monthly from among the people that we know and love.  Adoptions have gone wrong.  Intestines have folded in on themselves.  Babies have been born with missing fingers.  Dear friends have fallen away from the L0RD.  Just when we think there can't possibly be any more bad news, the banner of loss picks up the wind and flies again.

Those of us with the hope of CHR!ST retort, "Yes, but with every loss comes something gained!  We gain perspective, intimacy with the L0RD, the ability to find joy in the small things, freedom from pride, freedom from materialism, freedom from fear."

That, and we drink coffee.  I have long given my parents a hard time about their dependency on the stuff, bragging on myself for having given it up after college and "now I can get up and go with nothing but a prayer and a nod of determination!"  Daniel is still there, refusing to sell out.  Not me.  I threw my hands up midway through this year, and I think I've figured out why.  A person's got to have three things every day:  something to look forward to, something that never changes, and 5 minutes of doing nothing.  Coffee provides all three.  We coffee drinkers (I can say that now) usually use the same cup every day, too, and it rarely has anything to do with how it looks.  It has to be a good weight, the right volume, and the handle must fit well in the drinker's hand.  My cup of choice is the ugliest one we've got.

The coffee inside that mug right there is instant, which, in this busy mom's morning, is often the best it gets.  Someone (forgive me that I can't remember who) sent us a box of Starbuck's instant packets, though, and I found Equal tablets, 7 months expired, at the import store the other day, and with some skim milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon, this ugly cup packs quite a lot of satisfaction.

So here's the hokey conclusion.  Nothing ever stays the same, right?  Our lives are forever changed in an instant - with a word, with a wrong turn, with an ultrasound, with a lump.  Every morning, though, unless we wake up one day on the moon with no provisions, we coffee drinkers will spend five minutes with a hot mug in our hands.  An afternoon headache scolds us if we don't.  It has to happen.  It will happen.  A vice?  Sure.  But in a year like this one, can ya blame me?  ;)