Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Comings and Goings

"I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes." ~ Sara Teasdale

I saw this quote this morning on Twitter and it has had me thinking all day about what we value and discount in our lives. Why is it that when something or someone exits our lives, we go through (an often extensive) mourning period? We tell ourselves things like "Why did I lose that opportunity?" or "Why didn't this something I really wanted work out the way I planned?"

And then these little blessings show up in our lives and we often don't pause to give thanks nor does that surprise appearance of someone or something cause us an extensive period of joy and happiness. Before you know it, new worries, concerns, and fears overcome the joy we felt very briefly. How do we re-balance ourselves in line with Sara Teasdale's sentiment?

New Yorkers have to accept a few inevitable events in life. Some are positive like the glee brought on by the first moment of springtime weather that sends us in droves to parks and sidewalk cafes. Some are negative like the all-too-often sour smell in the subway. And one that I always used to dread was a good friend moving away. People come in and out of New York constantly. If you live in New York long enough, eventually someone you love spending time with will move to another city. It's just the way it goes here.

I've moved back to New York 3 times now. On this go-around, I've been back almost two years, and in that time I've had half a dozen friends move away. I lamented losing every one. I would go through a period of real sadness when saying good-bye to each one. And then I began to notice that every time one left, another friend arrived. It was almost freakish the way it happened. And I only noticed it in retrospective. I was so busy feeling sad about my friends leaving that I didn't give a proper amount of joy to my friends who were arriving.

And this quote got me thinking about how many other times have I done this in my life. When someone or something leaves us, it makes way for someone or something new to come into our lives. How much more joyful could we be if we gave thanks for change, for its mystery, for the comings and goings that keep our lives fresh and exciting?

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