Wednesday, October 2, 2013

From "The Still Point of the Turning World" by Emily Rapp

I've been thinking about this passage over and over. I attribute a lot of things to luck, off and on, without much thinking about it. But I think I really like the idea life being about life, rather than being about luck, and whether or not I have any. I kind of feel like I should be careful when I use the phrase "luck" - she has a definite point.

Granted, we do not chose where to be born, or who our parents are, or our socioeconomic status. I would have formerly attributed those to luck of the draw, but maybe they are just the way life lays out. It's a strange and interesting ride, that's for sure.

[p. 93, on luck]

"The geneticist told us that if each of us had our DNA analyzed, we’d freak out; we’d be horrified by the many possibilities that may await us next year, in a decade, tomorrow, next week, a moment from now. 

“So, it’s about luck,” I said. 

“No,” he said, "It's about life. Any of us, at any moment, could manifest something we don't expect."

I misunderstood the concept of luck by believing it existed. I didn't need to feel cursed because Ronan had a terminal illness; I was long past caring what people thought about my own disapbility and what may have caused it or why. We talk about luck, I think, because it makes us feel blessed (another troublesome, annoyingly “folksy” word that is spoken by a character, at some point, in every episode of Little House on the Prairie). Saying “I’m so lucky” might feel to some like a priestly incantation, some kind of protective spell that makes people believe they’re standing on solid ground while the unlucky folks within shouting distance squirm around in the quicksand with their cancer and diseases and dying babies, but life – not luck – will find you eventually. To say “I’m lucky,” feels almost mean-spirited. It is mistaken for thankfulness, but it's not; it's smug and congratulatory, as if bad luck were a mischievous old gossipy lady with bad breath and kleptomania who you, super smartypants you, were wise enough to kick out of your house before she slipped the family jewels into her big ugly purse while everyone else was stupid enough to let her in and feed her expensive chocolates." 

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