Friday, December 28, 2012


The house was cold this morning when I rose. I’d been awake since three or so—sleep has never been a close companion of mine, especially in these last few years. I spend those dark hours sifting through thoughts and memories. Planning the day ahead and rehashing things I should have said or done differently the day before. Excessive wishing occurs. I suppose these hours spawn much of my writing and should be credited with the seeds of paintings, recipes, and essays alike…but they’ve also left me with entirely too many hours to flay the flesh from my own bones at times.

The stairs creaked as I made my way down by the light of the small Christmas tree in the entryway. The larger one in the living room, along with the lights on the mantle and across the top of the bar gave most of the first floor a soft warm glow despite the rather arctic hard flooring beneath my bare feet. I nudged the thermostat up, poured a cup of coffee (thank goodness for pots you can set the night before—almost like having a wife of my own--hot  coffee ready at 6am is a marvelous thing), and stood looking out the kitchen window, the world icy and frosted white beyond the glass. The boys have reveled in the snow these last few days…I must admit I do not share their delight--winter makes me long for blankets and hot toddies.

I listen to NPR (national public radio) as I get ready every morning. I find it much more informative and less irritating than television with its persistent commercialism and tendency to qualify the “latest trend in socks” and “recipes for your holiday brunch” as “news.” NPR brings the Middle East into my kitchen, wars and tragedies as well as triumphs and joy—things which help me keep perspective. I fear there is a vast population out there absorbed only in the three square miles that surround them…

Throughout the programming, they often mention famous birthdays. Tidbits of interesting lives. Remarkable moments. Today, it turns out, is Stan Lee’s birthday. As the announcer read through several facts about the man, there was near reverence in his voice. It was obvious that Marvel and all of the magic contained therein had touched his own life personally.  Spiderman Halloween costumes and Iron Man underroos, a full-color childhood of imaginary champions.   As I traced the curve of my lashes with eyeliner, I found myself wondering at a life so….huge. Lee literally altered the world. He poured enchantment into the mundane, created heros with vulnerability as well as strength…made us all believe good would really win in the end and that no matter how desperate the situation, it was still possible to be rescued. (and this aside from contributing to an industry that encompasses movies and books and careers for thousands)  Stan Lee matters.  Running my fingers through auburn curls, I clipped the silver hoops into my ears and thought about my day ahead….

Would it matter?

Seven hours at the office, home to cook dinner, maybe a stop on the way for some new year supplies….nothing remarkable. At all. Nothing life changing for anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I know the boys will appreciate being fed and should I not stop for cheese and peppers, there would be no dip for the mancave sleepover planned for New Year’s eve….but do I matter?  My tiny carved out niche in the world, three boys, an old house; a husband and one neurotic dog. I don’t change the world.  Far from it.  My presence wouldn't register two lines in the local paper, much less a birthday announcement on the radio given with admiration and awe.

It’s strange, this world. When I think of the larger pieces of the pie—the names known by all that fabricate and shape the direction of this never ending story we all live within….I cannot help but wonder at the power of the rest of us.  Leading quiet lives in quiet homes, giving birth and laughing and weeping and quietly dying. Perhaps it’s just the new year, facing the end of last, resolutions and realizations and such. Perhaps I’m just tired today. Perhaps I need to be more intentional.

Perhaps mattering….doesn’t really matter.


Mary Kirkland said...

We all matter to the people we come in contact with, the people in our lives, our families and sometimes even to people we don't know we matter to.

Robbie Grey said...

I have similar sleep patterns, so I feel your insomniac pain.

Mattering and whether or not it matters, is perspective. As for changing the world, I always think of some dialog from an episode of M*A*S*H;

"You're really think you'll change the world?"

"No, just our part of it."

Out on the prairie said...

Your existence continues very well. I sometime rove early mornings wondering if the thoughts that woke me are worth not snuggling just a bit longer.

Shea Goff said...

Not that it matters but you are one of the top ten in 2012.

I think you would make Stan Lee blush.

Anonymous said...

I've just started working on a business deal with a man who leads a very "matters" life. He said for years he wanted to free himself from the ordinary, the mundane, the cog in the wheel who didn't matter~& he did that & more. Now he would love to have just one day of an ordinary life. Go figure ;o.

Every time I have my face tilted up to the sun I feel like Something Matters..even if it isn't specifically me, that is ok.

Brian Miller said...

we often dont realize how much we do matter....rather like a wonderful life you know...when you are taken out of the equation what all it affects...and you dont have to have a name like stan, though i appreciate all that added to my childhood...smiles..

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen the movie 'Serendipity' with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale? There is this great quote toward the end of the movie written by an Obit writer of the New York Times where he says,
"that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences, but rather, it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite sublime plan."

I love that idea.

Anthony said...

The proverb/phrase,"Life is what we make of it," has some truth to it.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

It's all relative. I never read a Stan Lee comic or watched a movie based on his work. So I can acknowledge his talent, but I don't believe he affected my life. On the other hand, I read your postings regularly, and I often say, "Hmm, I never thought of it that way." Fame is not the measure of a person's worth. (And besides, you're a mother, and Mothers Matter!)

Leah Griffith said...

This is a very reflective post conjuring memories of years gone by when my own children were snuggled in their warm beds and I sat alone with my cuppa black coffee and a journal in front of me.
I wondered if I mattered too. My life seemed so small. So predictable and limited. But then I would brush those thoughts aside and brave the day, knowing full well that I did matter. I was special then and I'm special now, as are you, and all the souls who walk this earth with a universe inside of them and tight shoes on their feet. Ha! Isn't it amazing!

Chantel said...

Mary--so very true!

Robbie--love that quote, might just put that above my kitchen sink. :)

Prairie--in the winter, leaving my bed is not a chilly option for me!

Shea--you do say the nicest things, my dear. xo

Mary--I will remember your words when the sun appears again. :) And here's to hoping your venture is grand....ordinary--never!

Brian--I may name my next pet Stan, just to have it go on. :)

Candy--love that line, must see that movie again!


Bliss--thank you, and you're right--mothers do matter. :)

Leah--you make me smile, I suppose we choose our attitudes as well as our paths, eh?

Jessica B said...

I agree with Brian... I don't think we realize how much we *do* matter.

Jennifer said...

I really did love this. Thanks for sharing.

ND Mitchell said...

It's been said before above but whether or not we believe it, we do matter to those around us more than we imagine. As for our wider influence on the world think of van gogh who had no idea that his art would be so appreciated after he was gone. As for you Chantel, your writing matters to all your readers. I for one, look forward to whatever you post. Happy New Year!

The Empress said...

I'm like Candy above--the movie Serendipity is something I have to seen once a year.

It changes me every time.

We all matter. It's felt int he universe, except by us, because we are out of our energy pattern.

But we matter.

Here's to sweetness, light, meaning, joy and love in 2013.

Chantel said...

Jessica--you're both right, only this leaves me thinking I need to make sure that those that do matter to me....know. :)

Jennifer--thank you!

David--are you by chance a Dr. Who fan? There is an episode about Van Gogh that brings me to tears, it's beautiful. You're right...and thank you.

Empress--amen, and dangit--I am so going to see that movie this weekend! xo

Mel Heth said...

I like Blissed-Out Grandma's take. You matter to me a lot more than Stan Lee. And I think we all matter in ways we don't even realize. Maybe that's one of the treats we get when we die - finding out just how much we actually mattered when we were here.

The Loerzels said...

It matters. You matter. Reality and not decieiving ourselves about how much we matter, matters.

ND Mitchell said...

Hi Chantel. Leaving this comment as i can't seem to comment on your post entitled Regrets. Just eanted to say i hope your hiatus isn't too long. Whatever you are feeling i urge you to keep writing. You have an amazing gift. God bless. David.

Robbie Grey said...

I'm going to echo ND Mitchell here. Your stuff is amazing and I hope your sabbatical is not too long. Luck.

Vapid Vixen said...

I really really love the way you write. Do I say that every time I comment?

I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said. I agree with everyone's input and that each one of us matter a great deal. Even if we have trouble seeing it ourselves. Perception is reality, even if our reality isn't necessarily accurate.

Also, I hope you are well and that your sabbatical accomplishes what you're hoping for and that you're back to sharing your talent with us soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh C. I think we have the same pulse some days. I have hidden a lot the last year. It does get to be overwhelming.
This post sums up my thoughts perfectly the last month or so. Some days are so .... My brain gets too heavy and I just need to expire. Like old cream.

Don't vanish. Send me a a line. I'll nibble. I know exactly where you're at.

Anonymous said...

I a fan of an occasional hiatus, as I am of mental safeguards. And often words do not touch the truth of our inner nature. But still. I love the way you write. I will miss it & greatly look forward to its return. ~Mary

Brian Miller said...

hope on your hiatus, it is getting to be less as much you know....