Last night, my mind wandered to a quote I came across from F. Scott Fitzgerald.
"It is in the thirties that we want friends. In the forties we know they won't save us any more than love did."
Are you in your thirties? Are you in your forties? Whatever your age, in the world wide web where people parade their luscious lives for all to see, it is easy to find yourself at the bottom of a glass half empty like a roach squeaking your paws against the sides trying to avoid that helpless belly up feeling. Or maybe it's not that bad, or maybe it is. But sometimes, we think our friends have all the answers. Sometimes, we think if we can just do a little bit of what everyone else is doing then we might just have a chance at saving the lives we've salvaged and make something shiny and worthy of them. Especially in our thirties.
In my thirties, I am raising a son. Seth who is seven and had already been tucked in for the night ran back out to me in the family room. He had forgotten that his teacher had told him that he would be able to see "two moons" tonight (one of which was actually a planet, we couldn't decide if it was Jupiter or Uranus). We ran outside together only to find the moon hiding behind the big fat willow oak and most of the sky behind clouds. Disappointed, he went off to bed.
I remember when I was 19 (before 30 was even a twinkle in my eye).
I remember the very moment I realized that no one, not even my mother (or first love for that matter) could save me. I was in Cork, Ireland. It was morning. I was sitting on a smaller than twin-sized bed. The room was nondescript, so were the sheets as was the desk next to the plain armoire that housed my four pairs of clothing. I had a window that looked down on the street and there was a view of the river and the local fish 'n chips shop. I was getting my things together to head to the market where I would sell vegetables all day and then come "home"...to nobody and not much. I realized, sitting on that bed, that I had gotten myself there and that no one was going to ask me, "What are you doing?" and then tell me how to do it differently or better. I realized that only I could save myself. [When I say "I", a partnership with God is always implied].
That trip ended up including marvelous things, such as paella in the countryside of Spain, bathing ostriches, and napping under Le Tour Eiffel.
So, I learned that neither Love nor Friends, nor Family or anything else could save me and make for me the life of my dreams. But I forget. It is always in the forgetting that we go belly up.
So, last night I remembered.
Just before midnight when I stepped out to check the sky. There they were: two moons. I pried his sleepy body out of the sheets, for it was wrapped tightly in them, and asked if he still wanted to see the two moons.
Seth wanted to see the moons. I want friends. You want friends. Do we know that love can't save us? Do we know what can? As we crouched in the driveway, watching the sky, I looked at him and thought that his sleepy smile just might do the trick. The trick of saving me. For now, in my thirties, it is for him that I say sorry, for him that I keep my faith, and for him that I create this home everyday.
"Two Moons", September 22, 2010, iphone camera