Hope Is Restored

5 Aug

“Life is hard, unfair, painful. But life is also guaranteed – one hundred percent, no doubt, no question – to offer unexpected and sudden moments of beauty, joy, love, acceptance, euphoria. The good stuff. It is our ability to recognize and then hold on to the moments of good stuff that allows us to survive, even thrive. And when we can share the beauty, hope is restored.”  -except from Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

Life is hard. I feel like I am constantly fighting a losing battle to mediate between people at work. In my past job and in my present job, there are a lot of clashing personalities, people misunderstanding each other, people being unable to communicate.  And I am constantly bouncing between them all trying to keep everything moving forward and it is exhausting. Sometimes I give up and sit at my desk and think “I’ll just let it all fall apart.” But I can’t. I really do want my company, and the people in my company, to succeed.

Life is unfair. This week I got to hang out with some of my current coworkers (see paragraph above). I wasn’t looking forward to it and although it ended up being full of laughs and a good respite from the grind, the first comment made to me upon arriving put a bad flavor in my mouth. I politely declined beer and asked for water (my reasons being I hate Cambridge Brewing Co. beer, I still had a workout planned that evening, I knew I’d have plenty of beer this weekend).  And the woman sitting next to me said “What a waste. Depriving yourself just to try and retain your 16-year-old figure.”  I felt incredibly judged by someone who doesn’t know me at all.

And earlier that day, at the gym, I was working on my Pull & Core schedule when a guy came up and said “I am going to use those now” and took my dumbbells.  There was another set of the same weight but someone was already using them.  And so I politely said “We can share but I’m not quite done” and he said “No thanks” and walked away. With my dumbbells. I felt incredibly weak and hurt by someone’s selfish behavior (and a little dismayed that my friends were at the other end of the gym and didn’t volunteer to go beat him up).

Life is painful. This weekend I relaxed (for most of it, minus the biking and running and lifting and errands) on the Eastern Promenade in Portland, Maine.  I took a nap, I listened to lots of good music, I drank tasty beer, I thought back on the years I spent sitting on the exact same Promenade not knowing how my life would turn out (I never would have guessed the twists and turns it has taken so far.) And I chatted with my friends who flew in for the very rare and incredibly cool Mumford & Sons concert. But even days of beauty (the venue was incredible!) are spoiled by painful memories. There were 5 of us runners when I lived in Portland.  And now, after 2 tragic accidents, there are 3. I like my personal space but there was a lot of space on that picnic blanket that I could have done without. I like being teased but there were a lot of nicknames and inside jokes that will never be used again. When I fell asleep, there was no one poking me and no one throwing things on top of me. Much as I love my friends, seeing them is painful (and they probably feel the same way) because I think of what should be and what will never be.

But there is also good stuff.  And out of that good stuff comes beauty and hope and laughter. There are shoulders that are browned from the sun because I never remember to wear sunblock during long runs. There are guys that let me lick their ice cream cones and wear their extra clothes when I get cold. There are bands that play hauntingly and harmonize in a way that has to be experienced live. There are cold IPAs that taste of summer. There are 1 AM texts that say “Only in Maine would you still see someone using a pay phone” and there are friends that you can repeat those texts to and know they will laugh, too. There are long runs that involve ocean waves and kids laughing at a playground and people so in love that they have to walk hand in hand and you can’t quite be annoyed as you squeeze yourself past. There is the ability to bike and to run, the new muscles that appear in your legs from all the activity, the feeling of accomplishment when you are done. There is the Red Sox winning after far too many losses, there are fresh strawberries waiting to be cut up in the fridge, there is the ridiculous excitement at an 89 cent bottle of diet Birch Beer that I begrudgingly share with the guys…only to have them present me with 3 more bottles.

And there are the people, so many people, who bring beauty and hope and laughter and heckling and surprises and joy into my life.

And when I think about them, hope is restored.

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Hope Is Restored”

  1. Megdalen August 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Yay for hope! Confessing jealousy over your M&S concert. See you next wknd!

  2. Matt August 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Liz, I appreciated your transparency and consistently well-dressed prose in this latest offering. With its bittersweet tone (even if it admits of hope), this piece reads less like the mien of a maverick because you’ve given rich expression to something so many of us feel. Thanks for sharing!

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