An Insufficient Fare Kind of Day


It’s an insufficient fare kind of day.

A spilled soda kind of day.

A drop a dirty fork on a customer and he rolls his eyes at you kind of day.

A your best friend misses his flight to come visit you kind of day.

An if I try to fold this blanket I’m gonna freak out kind of day.

A day when the murderer of a black teenage boy goes free.

A day when your heart feels numb and clumsy as a gloved hand.

A day when you realize that everyone you know is sad for the same reason and that’s the one thing that makes you feel better.

A day when the murderer gets his gun back and the prosecutor smiles and says she’s proud and you wonder how did these people get to be in charge and what is wrong with us?

A day when your friends go to a rally and walk all around Manhattan and miraculously people still have hope and rage and energy left.

A day when you sit in the yard after work drinking a beer with the guys, listening to them talk in Spanish, using your four verbs, laughing at stupid stuff and cheers-ing over and over again. And you know it doesn’t change anything but it makes you feel better.

And your boss’s cousin talks about how jail is so easy these days it’s like daycare and you crack up.

And you look at the sky and think about how you are just a tiny spot on the globe.

And you are more than usually aware of the complicated, simple humanity of everyone around you.

I have nothing very smart to say about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin and racism and the American justice system. There are so many people saying smart things all over the internet, I’m sure you have read them. I don’t know if I should even try to talk about it, but I can’t really think about anything without also thinking about that.

I have been reading so many heartbreaking, infuriating articles over the past few days since George Zimmerman was acquitted. I have also been doing a bunch of stuff to prepare for my wedding, which is on Saturday. My emotional state has been blurry, as if the good and the bad cancel each other out, complimentary colors mixed together to make a non-color.

I've been looking through Pema Chodron's book Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change to find readings for the ceremony, and this passage feels particularly apt at this moment:

"The other morning I woke up worrying about a dear friend's well-being. I felt it as an ache in my heart. When I got up and looked out my window, I saw such a beauty that it stopped my mind. I just stood there with the heartbreak of my friend's condition and saw trees heavy with fresh snow, a sky that was purple-blue, and a soft mist that covered the valley, turning the world into a vision of the Pure Land. Just then, a flock of yellow birds landed on the fence and looked at me, increasing my wonder further still.

I realized then what it means to hold pain in my heart and simultaneously be deeply touched by the power and magic of the world. Life doesn't have to be one way or the other. We don't have to jump back and forth. We can live beautifully with whatever comes--heartache and joy, success and failure, instability and change."

I can't let my heart go numb. I have to have a big, wise heart that has room for all of these things at once.