Love and Luck: A Nihilist Prayer

Yesterday, as my partner and I were returning from lunch, driving wordlessly along the winding forest road that takes us to our house on the southwestern outskirts of Portland, it occurred to me: I got what I wanted.

I got the thing I had been praying and pining and sweating for since I instantaneously fell in love with the too-cool floppy-haired (it was the 90s) boy who showed up at my school in seventh grade, shrouded in the mystery of being from out of town.

I got my man.

Only it doesn’t feel like an accomplishment, because it’s not like it suddenly happened when I became okay with being alone and learned all the magical single girl lessons that we long-time single girls are told we’re supposed to be learning (and enjoying, don't forget). And it wasn’t an answer to prayer; I stopped praying a long time ago. So maybe “got” is not the right word.

But it did happen. It didn’t and didn’t and didn’t for so many years, and then it did. And I was so burned out on wanting it that I barely had the energy to celebrate when it did. For what, exactly, would the celebration be, though? And to whom should I offer my thanks for this great gift?

Not God--it wasn’t He who came through for me.

Not even myself, because, though I’ve worked hard on being well-adjusted enough to be a good fit for a similarly well-adjusted mate, I know plenty of people who’ve been doing that work for a longer span of time than I and it hasn’t earned them a companion yet. And let’s not forget my overwhelming privilege. Every demographic I belong to sets me up for success in the field of heterosexual coupling in this society.

So what does it come down to?

I think, luck.

I got lucky.

A temptation bubbles up in my heart to wrap itself in gratitude around some Grand Scheme that, though perhaps technically atheistic, is driven by benevolence that (of course) benefits me. Still, I can’t shake the feeling, after all the prosperity gospel bullshit I’ve managed to disabuse myself of, that it simply...just happened.

What does that mean?

Nothing, I suppose.

But it feels like it needs to mean something.

I know. But maybe it doesn’t.

Maybe I spent too long studying literature, engrossed in narrative and understanding and significance.

I loved it. It filled a gap.

So did Christianity. Give me a story to interpret, give me a lesson to learn, give me anything that gets me out of my now-body and into my anytime, anyplace-head where I don’t have to figure out how to be comfortable being present and alive.

Give me a reason this person I love is driving this car I’m in to the house we own in a town we chose together, far away from the places that did their best to raise us right.