These are the Beautiful Things

There is a man I know who is excellent at his work, kind even to those who do their best to ruin his efforts, passionate about justice, and knowledgeable about the fascinating details of the world. It is more than a bit of a miracle that I know him at all, and I am grateful for it.

Once, I lived for eight months with a woman in her mid-eighties who taught me that one can grow old and still maintain a gentleness, barbed with a kind of ferocity that is not mean-spirited. It is more than a bit of a miracle that I knew her at all, and I am grateful for it.

A few years ago, I stumbled feverishly (really, I had the flu) into an animal shelter with a list of qualifications for the perfect cat. The cat who jumped, unbidden and purring, into my arms was too old, the wrong sex, and the wrong color. She came home with me anyway and taught me how to be a little more gentle with the things I love. It is more than a bit of a miracle that I have her at all, and I am grateful for it.

When I was eleven, I fell in love with a boy - or, as close to love as I could at the time - and stayed in that state for seven long years. It was a great distraction from the cruel realities of my world, even though, of course, young unrequited love felt like the cruelest reality of all. I haven’t seen him in almost a decade. It is more than a bit of a miracle that I had the capacity to love him at all, and I am grateful for it.

These are the relatively small realities, the things that do not change my every day, yet inform the way I live my life. A man simply living the way he has for almost sixty years, a woman spending her last years in grace, a cat being perfect in all her imperfection, the passion of pre-teen crushes giving way to twenty-something eye-rolls. They are everything and nothing, the beautiful things, barely more than bits of miracles, and I am grateful for them.