For weeks, this has been sitting in my heart...this post that's been forming in my head and words finding their way together until I could sit and write them down. The last few weeks have been hectic...Jamie has wisely observed that I've over-committed myself and am likely going to wear myself out. He may be right, but all of these commitments are important to me. I find myself having to take time to take a breath, no matter the chaos, so that I keep my mind clear and focused and so that the emotion that is always close to the surface doesn't spill over. But, for weeks now, there has been something sitting in my heart...something I think I can finally put words to.
There is a song out on the radio right now by a band called "The Script." The song is called "For the First Time." You have likely heard it if you listen to any radio station that plays current Top 40 hits...but you may not have listened to it. Because if you have listened to it, you would likely have heard what I've heard. Hope. An anthem for today.
The lyrics go something like this:
"Trying to make it work but man these times are hard,
She needs me now but I can't seem to find a time,
I've got a new job now on the unemployment line,
And we don't know how,
How we got into this mess
is it God's test,
Someone help us 'cause we're doing our best,
Trying to make it work but man these times are hard
But we're gonna start by
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
Sit talking up all night,
Saying things we haven't for a while,
A while ya
We're smiling but we're close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we're meeting for the first time."
This is basically the chorus of the song. But here's why this songs speaks to me...I think of me and Jamie, and I think about his sister, Gina, and her family. Not because any of us are destitute. We've all been pretty smart about making financial decisions and are holding our own, despite the worst economy since my grandparents were small children. But, man, does it sometimes feel incredibly hard to keep believing that this will get better. And not just the economy, but the overall feeling that this society that we live in is going in the wrong direction. I'm almost relieved to see all of the protesters in Wisconsin because it gives me a little bit of hope that people aren't willing to just continually be steamrolled by the decision-makers around them.
I didn't write this to make it political...I wrote it because the lyrics make me hopeful, despite all of the darkness and the sorrow and the struggle. Gina, Jamie, Dave (Gina's husband) and I have had occasion recently to just sit and talk a couple of times...late into the night, helped out by "cheap bottles of wine" (and beer). And we've talked about life...about all the things we hope for and all of those thoughts and wishes that get discussed, often late at night after four kids are settled into bed (for Gina and Dave) or late at night after everyone is home from work or class (for me and Jamie). Those late nights when life, ever rushing ahead, finally for a moment seems to slow down long enough where you look at each other and your disaster of a house around you and realize, "I have enough." Every single time I hear this song, I think about Gina and Dave and I think about my own life, and I think about my parents 30 years ago - finding time in the midst of life - to re-evaluate. Ultimately, what that song is saying and what I have realized is "I have enough."
Outside of winning the lottery, I don't think any of us will EVER feel like we have enough money. Bills will always come, loans will always be due, food will always have to be bought. Dishes will still pile up in the sink, we'll always be behind on laundry and we'll probably always feel like our house is too small. The car will still break down, the house will still need work, and we will forever have piles of mail and paperwork cluttering our house. But...I look across the room at Jamie, and I know in my heart that I have enough because I have what matters. What matters is never going to change, no matter what society says or how it goes in the legislature this week...regardless of what bills get passed or what budget gets approved, we are going to be okay. And from talking to Gina, I know that she and Dave have shared some of the same sentiments...times are very hard right now. Economically, most of us are struggling in some way or another...and many of us are questioning how we got here.
"For the First Time" feels to me like an anthem...a reminder that what matters is about who's sitting across the table from me sharing that cheap bottle of wine. Some of my favorite moments recently have been sitting with my husband, sister-in-law and her husband, laughing, playing with Transformers, eating cheese and crackers that we dug out of the refrigerator, and drinking a cheap bottle of wine. Because at the end of the day, those moments, that conversation, those heartfelt emotions that come are worth more than any paycheck. The moment that my nephew launched himself off my lap to grab a snack...the picture my niece drew, the smile my nephew gave us, the new babies friends and family have welcomed...those are the things that we will cherish in 30 years. Money will come and go...sometimes we'll have more and sometimes we'll have less. But this song...it has reminded me that sometimes when times are hard, it serves a purpose. It makes us sit down, look at each other, take stock, and remember that no matter how hard it gets, it will be okay because tonight I'm sharing a cheap bottle of wine - with "you."
Here's to you and those that matter most...