Life is like spilled beads

beadsI dream of sorting tiny beads. It’s not just me. I have kids “helping.” Of course every time the beads come into some sort of pattern they get messed up. And then we start over.

I don’t know what this is about except life. Cooking, cleaning, writing, losing weight, working on myself. Nothing is ever accomplished, done, satisfactory. Expecting it to be so is futile, given the material and who’s working with it. I’m not God the master artist. I’m just a bunch of easily distracted kids and this is really, really demanding work, making sense of life, making progress in life.

I dream this after starting Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life, a novel about the lives of Ursula, who, every time she dies (the first time right after birth), goes back and relives the same life up to the point of that death, which she or circumstances now prevent, until the next death happens–maybe only months or hours later this time. For example, it takes her three or four tries to survive the great influenza epidemic of 1918. After infancy she has vague but urgent premonitions before the last thing that killed her happens and she takes a small evasive action. When I left off last night she was 7 and was beginning to experience déjà vu in other things as well.

This is an intriguing premise for a novel but mind-boggling to think about. (I recommend anything Kate Atkinson has written.) Another mind-boggler I’ve read recently is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. That one plays with time and the idea of parallel universes, parallel lives, subtly, not in a sci-fi way.

The thing I live for is to see patterns and connections. Thus the beads in my dream. Now I see them, now I don’t, and there is very little to hold them in place once I do see them.

Take weight loss, for example. I was following a formula that was working. The last few weeks I’ve been following it strictly and it hasn’t worked. The scales register a gain. If it is the scales, why does it act up in that particular way? If it is my body, same question.

And on a larger issue, every time I think I am in general becoming more disciplined and purposeful, I have a day like yesterday when I watch hours and hours of TV and read novels and get no exercise and exceed my food points.

I guess that is no great mystery. I was a tiny bit discouraged by the weight gain. What the heck nothing works anyhow I may as well be a lazy slob.

But church was good yesterday and the dream class I’m leading there went really well again. At first the dreams are like spilled beads and then we begin to see the patterns.

Today I’m ready to get back to the bead sorting. Having fun doing it.bead girl