Because a life unexamined is lived without intention.
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.