Many of us have labored under a fictitious notion of life, long after our years of experience really ought to have disabused us of it. What I mean is that we tend to persist in believing that the states of Unhappiness, or Happiness, or Cancer, or War, or Poverty are self-contained and overarching realities in which a person is completely immersed, with no differentiations of experience within these. We forget that even a person who is what we consider Happy is not happy every minute. And we forget that even a person who is Unhappy has moments of levity, appreciation, distraction, or other relief.
Widowhood, for instance. Before I was a widow, I thought of that state in the gloomiest terms, as if every moment of the day the woman who was bereft of a husband was feeling the full force of her bereavement. But as I have learned, the view inside is very different from the view outside. It has often been impressed on me that many unfortunate states look far worse to the person looking in on them than to the person going through them.
I remember my friend Lynn, who was a child growing up in Germany during World War II, telling me how marvelous it was when her mother's friend brought her a bit of cocoa, and she hid it in a small box and went occasionally to steal little tastes of it from her hiding place. I daresay that little girl enjoyed her treasure far more than most children today enjoy a giant chocolate bar. Deprivation is the mother of delight.
And so, although I would not have chosen to be bereft of a car right now, nor suddenly saddled with financial stresses, many delightful things have come my way as a result of these new developments, things I would not have experienced otherwise. For one thing, my family has come closer together. My children (especially my daughter) have learned some hard but beneficial lessons about life. In their soberness, they have put away some foolish things and become more helpful around the house. Pride has been replaced with humility.
And I am meeting a few nice people.
That's just the way life is.