Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Life is like that

Our friend D. comes back to Maine tonight from Iraq, which is wonderful.

Darren's dad is in the hospital with some heart problems. It doesn't look too bad - he'll probably have to have his second stent put in - but it's certainly not great.

And a member of my family is going through what can truly be called a tragedy involving the death of another person.

I used to think that upheavals like this, series of emotionally draining, wrenching events, were unusual. That they were something to be gotten through until things got back to "normal" again. I thought about this topic a lot about 18 months ago, when we first heard that D. was going to be called up, and our other friend D. got her ALS diagnosis and our dog Sparky was getting sicker and sicker.

And all that fall, we were holding our breaths for a long-awaited vacation in New Mexico, where Darren and I met. We left Santa Fe in 1996, and had never been back. So we planned a big blowout vacation with some really good friends, rented a house in the mountains in northern New Mexico and counted on the vacation to settle everything that was weighing on us.

Of course, it didn't. Not only that, but it turned into a disaster the likes of which is funny in retrospect but certainly wasn't so at the time. The gorgeous house we rented in, I repeat, the mountains, had a problem with the heat. It didn't work. It never worked, despite repeated visits by repairmen and landlords. So rather than spending a contemplative week hiking, cooking and gazing at the Sangre de Cristos, we spent it watching pay-per-view movies in a Residence Inn next to the interstate in Santa Fe. (And eating green chile at just about every meal. I'm not kidding: I had a bagel with green chile cream cheese. Mmmmmm...)

Still, I did a lot of thinking that week. And I came to the realization I mentioned above, which sounds treacly and talk-show-ish, but is actually pretty meaningful when you go through the process to learn it yourself: "Normal" life is not the calm, maybe mundane time when things are going smoothly and you've got it all under control.

Normal life is a day like yesterday, when I heard all three of those pieces of news I posted at the top, one after another after another. And it's a day like today, where I get up, put the dogs out and try to reconcile all these things in my head (not to mention trying to get the paper to the printer in time to go to the welcome-home gathering for D. early this evening). And that's just the way it is. And, for today, I'm ok with that.