These days, I don’t have much in the way of exciting news. Yes, we moved recently - a big move, from California to Wisconsin - but we’re here now. It’s official. It is no longer a wide landscape of Uncertainty and Change I see far ahead in the distance, but instead an image that is very clearly in my rearview mirror. We have moved, and we’re settled in our house, so the phase we’re in now is rather mundane. It is getting to know the route to the grocery store and finding a new dentist. It is watching the birds at our newly-filled feeders and admiring neighborhood Halloween decorations. And while I love making mental notes about all of these little places and experiences in our new day-to-day routines, I wouldn’t call any of it extraordinary. Life is pretty quiet, maybe even boring. But in a blissful, life-affirming way.
These days, I’m happy to have the excitement in our lives at a low simmer rather than full boil, because all that roiling too often comes from horrific sources. I’m not having to juggle chemotherapy appointments and there are no memorial services or funerals on my calendar. My house is warm and intact, with no threat of fire or earthquake or mudslide. My husband and I went to a new church yesterday and came back home without incident. And while I did, in fact, entertain a brief thought while we were there about what would happen if someone started shooting in the middle of the sermon, I didn’t really feel that possibility in my bones until I turned on CNN later in the day and learned of the shooting in a small church in Texas. In that moment, I was grateful the congregation we sat with and prayed with was safe and out of harm’s way. It could have so easily been a different story.
I have watched many Oscar ceremonies, and remembered a great many speeches, but the one I’ve held closest to my heart was from Gerda Weissmann Klein, a Holocaust survivor and the subject of the 2008 Best Documentary Short Subject “One Survivor Remembers.” I listened to her words when she said them onstage, Oscar in hand, and I’ve replayed them in my mind countless times since. They are words I knew I needed to hold onto, like precious stones, for the rest of my life:
“In my mind’s eye, I see those years and days and those who never lived to see the magic of a boring evening at home.”
Boring requires no adrenalin. There’s nothing thrilling about it. But it does have its own sparkly magic, its own energy and movement and light. When nothing in particular is happening, I can let the moments passively slip by, or I can pay attention. When I find myself doing the former, I remember Gerda, and say thank you - for the boring, and for the bliss.