I cannot avoid this brief check-in, for I have had a keen reminder of the goal which I set for myself in December of 2013.
After my mother-in-law died, I listened to the pastor at her Episcopal church speak of her uncomplaining nature. I resolved to matriculate an entire year without uttering a word of complaint. I started this blog to hold myself accountable.
Life lobbed repeated curve balls in my direction over the ensuing months. I staggered under the weight of each new insult. By year’s end, I had fallen so far short of my objective that I decided to keep blogging, keep straining, keep endeavoring to live joyfully and cheerful. I re-watched Dr. Rosenberg’s videos, hitched my big-girl britches, and set forth.
The end of my seventy-second month in the endless year approaches. And still my obective eludes me.
Yesterday, I sat in the Sacramento airport, content with a book while waiting for my flight”s departure. A wiry man approached, leading a rambuctious dog and loudly declaiming in profane lanuage on a cell phone held four inches from his ear. I happened to be browsing social media at the time, and I posted some snotty sally about the fellow.
Amid the commiserating comments, I found a pointed, amused barb: “How’s that “Year Without Complaining” going, Corinne?”
I get a chance to start anew. I can assign a new task to myself. I can designate any day to be the commencement of my effort. I can remind myself that empathy is a two-way street which my feet should navigate with sound steps.
I woke this morning in a guest bedroom half the size of my tiny house. I padded through my sister’s lovely house, to the kitchen where she had laid out the accoutrements of coffee-making for me. As I waited for the kettle to boil, I studied the baskets, the delicate Christmas ornaments, and the little trinkets on the window sill in my sister’s kitchen. I suddenly thought of my son, who gave his blessing for the breakdown and sale of his childhood home. He spoke not one word of reproachment. He helped me pack, and sacrificed his vacation time to share my first California Christmas.
The kettle whistles. I pour hot water over the grounds and stand at the dark window, wondering, for the thousandth time, how anyone can live for sixty-four years and remain so unenlightened. I wondered if that man and his little dog found their way to his son’s house. I sent a wish for peace into the universe, poured a cup of coffee, and sat down to read the morning news.
It’s the twenty-fourth day of the seventy-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.