Take it one step at a time

This morning, a friend of mine who works with teens told me that she starts every meeting, this time of year, by telling the teens: “Everything is going to be ok, and here’s why.”

They’re stressed out with school, college applications, standardized tests, maybe active shooter drills. I remember how, at that age, the weight of your whole future seems to be riding constantly on your shoulders. You don’t yet understand how many turns a life can take, so every small success or failure seems important, every decision final. Anyway, it made my heart warm to think of someone so loving and trustworthy gathering a bunch of these fragile creatures and telling them, “It’s ok, here’s why.”

We all need to hear that sometimes, don’t we? We do. This weekend we got a lot of heavy rain—actually, it’s still raining right now, as I type this—and I worried that the seeds in my garden would be washed away. The dirt here has a lot of sand, and most of the seeds I’d planted were wildflowers, poppies, things with seeds so small you can lose them on the topography of your own hand.

You will be unsurprised to learn that, in fact, plants and gardens really like being watered. I’m so unused to getting good rain that it was shocking to me how sweet the earth smelled afterwards, and how many little seedlings were peeking from the soil, where beforehand there was nothing.

I did not watch the State of the Union, because I feel like we all know what the state of our union is. It’s tenuous. And I want someone to tell me it will be ok, and tell me why, but no one can. We just have to wait, and do what good works are in our power. So I am keeping my head down and writing a book, and reading other books: I just finished Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, which was darkly beautiful, and hope to read Esmé Weijun Wang‘s The Collected Schizophrenias just as soon as it arrives at my door. I have a stack of novels from the library, and I’m working through it at an excellent clip, the way I did when I was a struggling teen, posturing like an Existentialist.

The world is not easy, the world is not sure. But it will be ok. I can’t tell you why. Just trust me.