Thursday, September 23, 2010

Save Yourself and Two Moons

 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" 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


Karen said...

Needed to read that. Thank you. :)

Caitlin and Mike said...

Beautiful! I've been thinking about this lately. My children are a huge motivating force for self-improvement in my life.

Kate said...

Thanks for that. I am in my thirties and close to another birthday to bring me further into my thirties I battle with what you speak of. I am aware that no one can save me but I look to friends right now. My kid and the one soon to come remind me to do better and to see the simple

LCFrohm said...

So well put. And obviously, what many of us are feeling these days.
Thank you for this! You are the greatest!

Jessica said...

I love that you woke him up to show him those moons. Reminds me of the time that he got to stay up late to watch the fireworks in Provo with his aunts and uncles!

Anna M said...

it's a love/hate relationship with blogs and online friendships. While kind and nice to have comments and readers, it is also counterfeit friendship. In my 30s, I have found an identity: no longer do I need to borrow my parents' and siblings' identities.

In my 30s, my family feels perfect. But in my 30s I also need to have better priorities. Seeing two moons at midnight surpasses any imitation happiness the 30s tells us that we need to buy/make/photograph.

I LOVE THIS! thanks

k a t y said...

I bet Seth was over the moon happy that you woke him up to the 2 moon phenomenon. Good mothering, Jord.

Rebecca said...

Well put. You and God. You and Seth. You and lots of people that love you, especially ones in their 50's.

Michelle said...

It is a balance always balancing. Too much friends, too much alone or even too much kids or family can be too much. I tend to love being alone or love my kids and family only.

But friends offer something family and aloneness can't. They see a perspective of you that is fresh, that family sometimes doesn't see. I'm still trying to articulate what it is that friendship gives me.

If I hadn't had my good new friend I would not have addressed important issues about my health or education that I recently have addressed only because of her. I'm just grateful for the One who knows me best and puts people in my path even if I prefer the comfort of my family and myself.
What a great post Jordan. :)

Sorry this was so long

Ariel said...

Thank you for putting into words what gets jumbled in my head. You are a breath of fresh air.

Kurt Knudsen said...

It is fun to live with a sage in her thirties. thank you.

Panooch said...

Beautiful Jo!

beck said...

My favorite of your posts....