I awoke this morning with dreams of visiting a tropical island paradise with sand under my feet and a cocktail in hand. I snuggled deeper into the warmth of my blankets hoping to prolong the dream and avoid another monotonous day, but the squawk of my alarm clock shatter any illusions I had of paradise.
“Would you start the coffee,” came from the other side of the bed and a cold, wet nose and whimper greeted me from mine. I threw back the covers; the day had begun whether I was ready or not. I stumbled down the hall, turning on lights and opening bedroom doors. I called out a morning greeting to my slumbering boys hoping the light and my voice would begin to rouse them.
I pushed the button on the coffee machine, opened the door to let the dog out, waiting to make sure he could find his way down the steps, and then went back to the kitchen to start making breakfast, and then lunches, and then I put a roast in the crockpot for dinner. I started a load of laundry and nagged the boys until they pushed themselves out of bed, put their clothes on, ate breakfast, and got their act together so I could take them to school. In between nagging, I dressed for the health club, checked to see that my blind dog made it back into the house, filled water bottles, and herded the boys out to the car.
The day continued much the same as every day does. I made a list of things I needed to do, I accomplished it, and the small sense of satisfaction that came with crossing off the last item was usurped by the knowledge tomorrow will bring the same. The thought doesn’t fill me with dread, instead it empties me of self. The loneliness left behind is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. This life is not enough. I want more. I want to be more.
But the day isn’t over yet. It’s after ten and like most nights, I log onto Google to catch up on the day’s news. Peshawar headlines splatter the page and after reading the article my immediate emotion is horror, the next- chagrin. Here I sit complaining about my mundane, less than fulfilling days, while across the world children were gunned down because of a terrorist group’s heinous need to seek revenge, and to hurt the childrens’ parents who they believed to be responsible for an attack on their village in Waziristan.
I am left immobilized. I cannot wrap my mind around such atrocities and like Colleen, I come face to face with my insignificance. I am only one. What can I do to make a difference around the world? The depravity of these acts, the entire idea of terrorism is beyond my ability to comprehend. How do people convince themselves there is a God who believes they are elite and the rest of His creations are lacking and should be put to death? The hubris! The temerity! And yet, I am aware much of that world says the same thing about us Americans. Why wouldn’t they when middle class housewives complain about being unfulfilled because working out, taking care of their families, and forging a career isn’t enough to feel complete? Is my need to be more made insignificant in the face of these atrocities?
I imagine this tightrope I traverse from world empathy to self-fulfillment. I don’t live in a war torn country. I am blessed to live in the United States where things are far from perfect, but it is a place where I have a voice. I am educated, well read, and I have no fear of being killed for that, nor for something my parents may have done. Women do not have equitable circumstances, yet we are free to fight for them without worry of death.
Perhaps the most important thing I can do to help is continue to seek fulfillment within myself and use whatever medium I can to spread this idea to others. I tend to be a Pollyanna, but as people become more satisfied with themselves and happier in their now, they lose the need to dominate and control others. Buddha said, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Color me an optimist, but if people can find a way to be happy within themselves, then happiness spreads, joy follows, and there would be more peace.
I awoke this morning with dreams of visiting a tropical island paradise with sand under my feet, a cocktail in hand and a yearning to be something more. I go to bed this evening hopeful that our words here at OneYearofLetters.com impact our readers. I hope we challenge ideas, encourage people to dig deeper and find happiness in who they are and what they’re doing today. These are words I will take with me tomorrow as I accomplish my daily list. Perhaps this is “the more” I’ve been missing. I may not have the power to change the world, but I have the power to change myself and influence those around me.
Be happy in your now.
To read more of Elaina’s letters and stories, click here!