The wife of a once very close friend of mine gave birth to their third daughter a few days ago; another beautiful little girl. Their family looks as though they could be cut from the pages of Mothering magazine or Good Housekeeping.
My friend is a wonderful man. He is the kind of man who is not afraid to show love and affection to his wife and children–in his world they come first. He is thoughtful and tender toward his wife. He helps out in every facet of their lives together. I truly admire the family he has forged for himself. He is a good man who deserves all this happiness and more for the wide expanses of his generous and loving heart.
So I find myself wondering, is that what it is? Do the marks on his gold star chart simply add up to a greater number than mine? Thus his life could fit into a picture frame while mine is the insert in that frame that gets covered over?
Sometimes at moments like these I think about the disjointed nature of life. How come some lives seem to soar through the sky on auto-pilot, and others barely sputter along like a clunker on the way to the junk grave yard?
It can be easy to look at the ease of other’s lives, and question our own. Why must our struggles be so great? Why must our burdens weigh so heavy? Did others simply make better choices along the way? Were some luckier to find true loving partnership and companionship early on in their lives, with a family following like the pages of a children’s book about princesses and fairytales?
Did I just miss the boat?
I suppose there is a chance I did. There is a chance that in waiting for the stars to align, for others to be ready, for myself to be brave enough, I waited until life passed me by. There is a chance that I made bad choices, that I kept love and those who desperately wanted to bath me in it, at bay in lieu of an elusive love I kept relentlessly chasing. Yes, there is a chance that this life of mine is a self-designed disaster.
However, I don’t think so.
I believe our lives are like a deck of cards carefully shuffled by the dealer. We take what we are dealt, and we play that hand the best we can. Sometimes people get a lucky hand, they are dealt a pair of aces (bullets in poker) without ever discarding and drawing from the deck. And sometimes, people are dealt the 2 and 7 (or the hammer in poker) with the smallest chance of odds at ever winning. No matter what rests in our hands, we cannot change it; all we can do is play the hand.
But the thing is it takes a hammer to build the most magnificent architecture. So when dealt a hammer we have the choice to fold and walk away, or we can play our cards until the last hand, never knowing what surprises we might draw from the deck of time and patience.
I wish I could tell you that there is a happy ending to every story, that we all get that picture we want in the frames of our lives; however for some of us that is just not in the cards.
This does not however mean that with a hammer we cannot build a shelter for our hearts filled with small triumphs along the way, and with space for a window to look out onto the vista of possibilities that always remain, as long as we do, in the cards.
My cards may not include four of a kind, or even a full house, but you never know what tricks the joker has in store. I suppose the best I can do is keep drawing and discarding with my eye on the jackpot.