Tonight, while sitting on the porch staring up at a deep blue canopy of stars, I found myself thinking about H.P. Lovecraft and his view of the Universe as a cold, distant, uncaring and even hostile place. I realized that while I may enjoy reading his eerily eldritch stories, I do not subscribe to this viewpoint. As I sipped tea and stared at the stars I felt as though all of my ancestors were looking down and watching over me. I had a sense of connection and belonging. It was as though the Universe cared, even if it couldn’t do much to show me right now. It filled me with a sense of hope and wonder.
The more I thought about it the more I felt like Pandora in Greek legend. Despite being surrounded by a world filled with personal and global ills, I do have a sense of hope. I harbor and nourish that little seedling even through the darkest times. I have layered this spark in a thick, protective hedge of sharp thorns and snarky barbs but it glows within me and refuses to allow itself to be diminished or extinguished. She dances within, occasionally surprising me with her exuberance and strength.
As imperfect as my life might be right now, there are moments of transcendent joy and beauty. They are usually such simple things as enjoying a cup of tea or seeing the heron that has taken to hanging out nearby. They are easy to miss and dismiss but recently Joanna Powell Colbert shared a practice of honoring Happiest Moment of the Day (#HMOTD). I have decided to participate in this practice. It’s so easy to focus on the misery, unhappiness and chaos that swirls around us. It’s more challenging to find the joy and happiness in small things; brief moments.
I must admit, my surprise at realizing that I am an optimist. For so long I viewed my self as a pessimist. Now I need to readjust that and say I’m a practically cautious optimist – I brace myself for the worst but hope for the best. It’s also a relief to finally embrace this side of myself. Sometimes it’s exhausting keeping up the charade of being a pessimist. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not a cranky optimist prone to rants and bouts of snarkiness, but that just add more dimensions and layers to my personality.