Today is one of those silly days that my kids used to use to torture me—-every year!!! April Fool. When they were little, their pranks and April Fool jokes were appropriately small scale, and as they got older, the jokes got worse, MUCH worse—-and I fell for it every time. When I’m working on a book, I’m usually so deep in the book, that I don’t even know what day, month or season it is, and am all wrapped up in the timing in the book. So it’s easy for me to forget, or not even know, it’s April Fool—-and my kids took full advantage of it. (If it’s Christmas in the book I’m writing, and it’s July in real life, when I finally get my nose out of the book, I’m surprised that there are no Christmas trees anywhere…..oops. And it’s really embarrassing to say to someone near at hand—uhhh, excuse me, what month is this? Or what year? I dated a check to the pharmacy 1914 once, while working on a book about World War 1. So I’m a prime target for April Fool jokes, with no idea that that’s what day it is!!) As my kids got older, they called to tell me they were in jail, got fired or kicked out of school, just got married at the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas (to someone totally unsuitable of course, that they had only met hours before), or were pregnant (and not married. I fell for that one every year, much to my children’s delight). They got me every time. But I’m braced for them this year—-and I know what day it is!!! Ha!!! So there!!!
On a more serious note, sometimes I do some religious reading, to clear my head, or help me find the answer to some problem I’m struggling to find a solution to, or an answer that eludes me. It’s not for everyone, I realize, but it helps me to problem solve when I’m really stumped. And recently, I was reading some passages that I find meaningful in The Bible. Some of the passages are particularly meaningful to me, and seem applicable to our ordinary lives. And while doing some reading, I came across the story about feeding a crowd of five thousand, with five loaves of bread and two fishes. Now that is a major culinary feat even greater than feeding my own small army of nine kids!!! What always jumps out at me in that story is the word “Fragments”, pieces. They didn’t even have five neat loaves of bread, and two whole fishes—they had fragments of them. Just pieces. It reminded me of my own life at times, when I have ‘pieces’ of what I need, but not the whole answer or solution to a problem. You sit there pondering your life, and think—-now what am I going to do with this mess?? With not enough of anything you think you need. For me, the story is about making do with what you’ve got, and somehow making it work, if at all possible, with not enough money, or not enough time, or just no obvious answer to a problem. It’s about being ingenious and somehow making it work. In the Bible, they fed five thousand people with ‘fragments’ of too little that they had in the first place. And how often are we faced with having ‘fragments’ of what we need, and not enough whole anything to go around? It happens to us all in some way, we desperately want a promotion, and a raise—-and we get one or the other, or neither one. They offer you a terrific new title, but no more money. Or the money, and not the glory of the new title you deserve. Or we’re looking for a new home, with our own set ideas and real needs, we need so many bedrooms, have definite ideas about what neighbourhood works best for us, and is okay, maybe a garage or some parking space, and then we add the cherry on top in our dreams, and would love to have lots of light so it’s cheery, and maybe we throw in a fireplace, and a view. And of course we only find part of what we want, and less than what we think we need. The place you find is bright and cheerful and light, but doesn’t have enough bedrooms, or is in an iffy neighbourhood, too far from where you work. Or there is a view, but the kitchen is smaller than a phone booth, and so few bedrooms you’d have to give up half your kids (just kidding). Or only one bathroom for all of you. We get fragments of what we need, and have to figure out if we can make it work, and what really matters to us, and what can we give up, and if we want to. It happens in relationships too, the person you love has some fantastic traits, but also some really unfortunate ones. Can you make it work with that combination of traits? Do they have only fragments of what you need in a partner, enough to make a life with them? Should you settle for less than what you want (and need)? Can you make it work? Fragments or the whole deal?? Life seems to be a series of compromises, and I don’t know about you, but more often than not, I have been faced with fragments of what I hoped for, and have to figure out how to make that work, or if I can. But it has been very rare in my life to get the whole enchilada on a silver platter. (Once in a great while, but not very often!!!). I like the reminder of the image of having to make life work when you only get fragments of what you wanted, or thought you couldn’t live without. Sometimes you can make some amazing adjustments to make the ‘fragments’ work and it turns out to be enough in ways you never expected, and sometimes you just can’t pull it off and shouldn’t even try. The challenges we all face one way or another.
The other concept that comes up in Christian religions at this time of year, which is my favorite, is the idea of “Resurrection”/Rebirth/Starting fresh/Starting new. The roof crashes down on us all at various times in our lives, we have a bad year, or even a bad run of years, the failure of a marriage, a business, a major loss, a huge disappointment, or a string of smaller ones, or bad health, or financial troubles. There are times when we have just been pummeled by life and feel as though we’re at the bottom of the barrel and will never get up again. We feel dead. The idea that we can start again, start fresh, recover and be ‘resurrected’ gives me so much hope—that we can come out of those bad times and be ‘reborn’, maybe with some scars, but we are back in the game again. That idea has kept me going through some very hard times. Resurrection, more than any other religious concept, which applies to our lives, I really love that one.
So those are my deep thoughts for the day. I hope that you survive April Fool’s Day with a minimum of trauma—-and that your children are much less mischievous than mine!!!
Have a great week!!!