I am friends with this really great couple, D & R, who've been dating for almost as long as I've lived in Los Angeles. They are two of the best people I know, enormously easy to be around and just generally good souls. Over New Year's, D proposed to R in Hawaii during a thunderstorm. Cuteness, excitment and glowing ensued, and they set a date in 2006 to be married.
Last week, R found out that her dad has cancer, and not a form that will go away with any ease. My first thought upon hearing this, after immediately feeling incredibly sad for her and her family, was that it's entirely unfair that her engagement bliss should be interupted by something so horrible that it can't be overlooked. There's no way that her father will not be at the forefront of her mind during what should be a purely happy time.
And then it occurred to me that we're not ever promised purely happy times. I once read an interview with Julia Roberts where she said that she feels as if, right now, she's in the "harbor of her life." If we're so blessed as to have a time like that, a little cove of calm and perfection, even for a brief time, it's to be truly appreciated because even then, in what seems like a sheltered moment, we're still vulnerable to what life can bring.
Realizing this, and thinking about it over the last several days, has been liberating to me on some level. I've spent so much of the past three months thinking that if only my love life were in proper order, everything would be perfect. I've a well paying job, amazing friends, a healthy, loving family, a cozy apartment, and a new little business that is already doing wonderfully even though it's not quite officially open! Yet I've been in such deep pain over the loss of my relationship that despite my gratitude for all these other things I've got, I've been utterly incapable of accepting my life as being full just as it is. It feels like something is missing, and something IS missing, but if it weren't, I wouldn't be guaranteed that the other things I value would be there as well.
The sense of completion, of fullness, has to come from something other than having the pieces of The Puzzle together all at once. The Puzzle is too fragile, too shifting, too fickle to be relied upon that way. You can search under all the couch cushions for the piece you're lacking, only to find upon returning with it that another one got lost while you were out looking.
Of course, I still wish I had my missing piece. But I will find my missing peace without it.