11 November 2007
All The Rest Is Gravy
All too often in life we forget to be grateful for the extras handed to us on a silver platter. Once you pass "enough" everything else is gravy. Once each year in Judaism you honor this principle at Passover where one of the central songs to the wonderful meal is the singing of the fifteen stanzas of Dayenu "Enough For Us" thanking God for all the miracles performed but acknowledging that the act of creation was "Dayenu"
We all like to be happy. We prefer it when life runs smoothly and the bumps in the road are eliminated beneath our feet. When horrid things happen (and they will at some point to almost everyone) we can get tangled in the loss, anger or grief totally forgetting just how wonderful it is to simply exist.
There is a poem written by a man who was a alcoholic in his tenth year of recovery. My father passed away quite soon after his tenth "birthday" with AA so Raymond Carver's poem strikes close to home about what it means to enjoy the "gravy".
No other word will do. For that's what it was. Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. Don't weep for me,
he said to his friends. "I'm a lucky man.
I've had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure gravy. And don't forget it."
It doesn't matter what you are facing. The doctor has issued some point on the calendar, the husband has wandered, the children have done something that produces terror, the bills are coming due and the income doesn't quite match the need .... Dayenu .... You are here and just being alive is "Enough" to see you through. Chin up, look to the rainbow, be brave .... all the bromides that are really, really true. It's all gravy.