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FAINT GLOW

Not Yet

I'm not sure what hurts the most right now--hands, feet or back. It's Christmastime (yippee) and my day job's at a gift shop (#!*). But today's Sunday, and although we're open and people are working, none of them are ME, astoundingly. So my gift-wrap-stressed fingers are recuperating nicely around a steaming mug of black coffee, my sore feet are enjoying their slippers, and my bad ol' spine has been treated to a heating pad. Livin' the dream, y'all!

Every year, for about as long as I can remember, I always say to myself, "Well, working in retail this time of the year sure sucks a big one, and this is the last December I'm doing it." But then look where that goes. Dunno if it's inertia (but yeah, probably), or age (like, I'm going to find a better job at my time of life? REALLY?), or the fact that I love the hell out of the folks I work for and with (which I do), or a combo of all three. But here I am. Jingle jingle jingle. At least we don't have to wear bleepin' Santa hats.

Oh, but there's so much woe all around me--people with cancer, families grieving losses, friends of friends whose jobs are disappearing. It seems like we're all walking tightropes across a bottomless chasm, all of us, the whole human race. And every day, more and more of us lose our balance and fall off. Eventually, all of us will. I will. You will. But it's not here yet, thank God. I'm still up and walking and trying not to look down. So what I feel right now is sorta guilty. Aware of experiencing some species of survivor guilt, as others around me begin to flail their arms and plunge...

But not me (yay!). Not yet. Sometimes, maybe guilt and thankfulness are just flip sides of the same thing.

So okay--how dare I complain about my job? Well, the truth is I don't dare. Not right now, not in this thankful/guilty mode. Plus I have a semi-new roof over my head, and my health (as far as I know), and enough to eat. A warm bed to sleep in, and cats to blanket my thighs on chilly evenings. Books to read, and eyesight to see them with, and loved ones to cherish. Netflix DVDs to watch. Wine to sip while doing so. So when I stop to think about it, I realize without a shred of irony just how blessed I am. That's such a trite word--"blessed"--and used as an identifier by those of political persuasions somewhat to the right of myself to recognize each other, so I hesitate to use it here. But it's what I am: blessed. I'm not sure why, or by Whom, and I don't know for sure there's a God (and if there is, maybe the correct word isn't Whom but What), but all I know at this moment on this cold grey day is that happiness is simply a temporary absence of trouble. Bottom line. That's all it is, and it's enough. Annette is a happy camper--a second cliche I really hate, but can't come up with anything better right now. Because it's true. Another cup of coffee, another fuzzy kitty belly to scratch, a job to go to (but not until tomorrow: double yippee!). And if I do have some terrible disease, I don't know it yet.

I'm still up on my little tightrope, for the moment. And still walking.


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