Not trying to sound negative. And actually, when I think about it, 2013 gifted me with much love, friendship, and beauty, for which I am ever-grateful. But it also punched me in the face with an equal amount of misery. No need to go into the gory details (you could just read previous blog posts re: divorce, concussion, semi crash, etc.). Just sayin -- if it's true that black-eyed peas bring good luck, I should've eaten bowls full.
I didn't. I survived. Life is still good. People are still crazy.
And here it is, 2014, with all it's new-ness and hope. All it's optimism and wishfulness. All the anticipation that this will be THE year.
I don't know about all that. I hope it's a good year. But that word "hope" always gets me in trouble. Because with hope comes expectation, and then the bar is set. And if expectation isn't met... well, that's when I get myself into trouble.
In those moments I always hear my late grandfather's wise words in my head. He used to always tell me, "a day at a time, sweet one. A moment at a time, if that's what it takes. Remember, hardships are the pathway to peace. Accept it all."
Speaking of my grandfather, what we discovered inside his old house on our land in western Arkansas last week is pretty much all the luck I'll need in 2014 anyway.
We arrived at night. It was dark, and the stars were so very bright. You could see Orion's belt in perfect view, as though you could almost reach up and tug on it. My boy was the first to walk inside, and his reaction was so faint, yet so grave-sounding, we knew it could not be good.
"Oh. My. Gosh. Momma, you have to come see this."
Then baby girl chimed in. "Groooooooooooooooooooooss! WHAT are those??"
At which point I went to investigate and -- like the klutz that I am -- slipped on a pile of what I thought were dead bugs.
They were EVERYWHERE. All over the floor, on the windows, covering the windowsills, and even in the sinks.
But then brave girl child figured it all out. They weren't creepy or slimy. They were ladybugs!
One of the ladybug piles we found
Good luck, right?
As it turns out, this little beetle is quite full of symbolic meaning. It's an emblem of luck, and if one lands on you, it is believed your wishes will come true. Some cultures believe the ladybug is a symbol of protection. Others think the number of spots on a ladybug you touch equals the number of months you'll wait until your true love arrives.
I think I might believe in the luck part. If it's true, I'll take it. But I've never really been too sure about luck to be honest. Like when someone considers themselves "lucky," I sometimes cringe. Lucky because they escaped death, or a tornado, or a car wreck, or some horrible fate. Seems easier for me to believe it just wasn't their time, or they'll get another tough lesson some other day. I've heard people who believe their lives are good say it's all just because of luck. But I tend to think maybe it was their attitude or perseverance or willingness to take what life gives instead of what they want. Some say babies born to rich people are luckier than those born into poverty. Yet I've watched as wealthy friends who've wanted for nothing in their lives screw it all up and seen the poorest of individuals rise up and enact change
I'm also not so sure of this whole idea that the next year will be any better or worse than the last one. Or that my luck will turn - because of black-eyed peas eaten or ladybugs landing, no less.
And as much as my soul is starved at times for a new beginning, I question and wonder if new beginnings really exist at all. I read this the other night, and it seems to make the most sense of all to me right now.
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”― Pema Chödrön
Makes sense to me to create space for all of it and see life as good no matter what, rather than label it as good luck or bad luck, right?
But then a funny thing happened. We were out to eat with our cousins at a pizza place tonight. In the game room, my daughter won only one toy. Would you believe, it was a stuffed ladybug?!
Sweet girl immediately started calling her our "Good Luck Ladybug Flower"