We long for good things to happen to us:
A torrent of love to sweep us away,
Trips in faraway places,
Pleasure in its many forms,
Money in the bank,
Books published to critical acclaim,
A healthy life well lived.
But what about all the things that don’t happen to us?
The illnesses that don’t throw us into hospital,
The car crashes that don’t paralyze us,
The earthquakes that don’t bury us under a mound of rubble,
The fires that don’t burn us,
The terrorist attacks that don’t blow us to bits,
The legs and arms we don’t break,
The lovers that don’t ditch us,
The toothaches we don’t have,
The extinction we don’t face.
You could have died of a heart attack before you finished reading this line,
Or been disabled by a stroke.
You could have been blown to bits,
Or burned to ash.
You could have suffered in so many ways.
Takes a bit of presence
To see the bad things that could have been
But that are not.
That insight alone won’t make you happy,
But it cannot leave you indifferent to the pleasant nothing-new.
This is as good a time as any to feel good about
all those problems you don’t have.
When’s the last time you enjoyed the toothache you didn’t have?