Monday, February 3, 2014

When Good Things Happen to Good People

Look, I know I am lucky.  I have a roof over my head, I have a car to transport me, I have a steady income, and I get to spend my days and nights with the love of my life.  I also acknowledge my “privilege” – a term used often these days to refer to those who have a built-in “advantage” in life to make things easier (my definition, not Webster’s):  I am white, I am an American, I am straight, I have no disability, and I am middle class.

So I am lucky.  And, dare I say it, I think I am good.  As in, a good person.  I have a kind heart, I think of others (often before myself, though I am working on that…), and I am caring.  And do you know what I think?  I think that, contrary to the saying and the popular book title, that sometimes GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.

Not BECAUSE they are good, mind you.   And I am not saying that only good things happen to good people.  I have had plenty of shitty things befall me.  My mom died when I was relatively young.  My basement once flooded and my washer and dryer (and everything else down there) were floating in sewage.  I have wrecked a car.  I spend at least 3 weeks every year panicking that my main source of income will evaporate with a pink slip.  So see – BAD THINGS do happen to me, but somehow it seems more good than bad…

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  What got me started considering it was when someone close to me said to my face, “I wish I had your life”.  Wow – even said in passing – that is a powerful thing to ponder.  Is my life so wonderful, so fantastic, that someone covets it?  I am not rich.  I do not live a lavish lifestyle.  But I LOVE LIFE.

And the more I thought about it, the more “good things” I kept remembering...  The whole starfish I found on a beach on New Year’s Day.  How I got to live on a barge in Paris.  How we got very-difficult-to-get cheap “Book of Mormon” tickets.  How I somehow happened on the career that fits me just right.  How I ended up playing the role of Mary in a drive-thru Bethlehem.  How I got interviewed for TV dressed in a cow costume.  How we stumbled upon seeing a Broadway show on the very same day, the only day, Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart were serving hot cocoa to the audience members…

When I examine those (and zillions of other) GOOD THINGS that keep happening to me, the thing I find in common is that I LET THEM HAPPEN.  I open myself up to the experiences and I TAKE NOTE of them.  My belief is that good experiences are all around us.  Heck, they probably outweigh the bad, which is why I keep finding them!  They do not come to those who are lucky.  They do not come to those that pray for them.  They come to those that NOTICE THEM. 

I FOUND the starfish because I decided to take a long walk, even though it was cold, rainy, and windy.  I opened myself to the experience – and I SAW it (both literally, the starfish, and figuratively, the experience as a whole).  I drank hot cocoa served to me by super heroes because I put myself out there, got up early, and waited in line for tickets (and as fate would have it was in the right place at the right time).  I got interviewed for tv because I opened myself up to the experience of putting on a ridiculous costume, squeezing in with thousands of people on the National Mall, and having fun.

I think amazingly good things are everywhere.  Somehow I must have a special eye to see them, and I am so happy I can!!! 

So yeah – more shitty stuff will happen to me.  People I love will get sick and die.  I may end up left alone.  I probably will never win the lottery.  And my roof will eventually leak…

But soooo much good, cool stuff will happen, too.  Homeless men will play my requested song on a recorder/flute (I know this will happen, because it already has once!).  I will take a photo or write a piece that gets published somewhere.  I will have a tree that bears citrus fruit. I will swim in a warm pool in the pitch black night with millions of stars shining over my head. 

And I will have these good things happen to me, a good person, because I will be open to them.  I will breathe in the experiences.  And I will notice them.

Don’t trade lives with anyone.  Keep your own life – and NOTICE the good.  Celebrate it.  Make it yours!  Let good things happen to good people.

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