It seemed like a great concept at the time, but life can get really messy really fast,
and who's idea was that anyway?
Oh. Mine. Well then.
This post is for all of you who (don't know me very well and) might think that a woman writing a blog with posts like "I'll take joy," a woman who has a soapbox entitled Thursdays are for thankfulness and regularly encourages others to be present in the moment... doesn't lose perspective. Regularly.
I have news for you.
A perspective of gratitude can evaporate faster than you can write
"Out of Order!"
It's embarrassing, really, but perhaps you'll find it a bit reassuring. We're all on this journey together, and sometimes it seems like a lot of uphill, with plenty of "Out of Order" all along the way. Keeping my perspectacles on my face is a daily...no, honestly, usually hourly challenge. (I owe the perspectacles concept to Glennon Doyle Melton over at the Momastery. I say to you, Read it!!)
So, I've been having some First World stuff management problems recently. And here's where the perspectacles need cleaned and placed on my nose over and over again. I know, I really do know that these are First World problems. It's just that I do live here...and having things Out of Order! is oh so inconvenient!
It allstarted with my washing machine a few weeks back. Or, it all stopped... Occasionally, it just wouldn't "wash." Turn the knob, pull, click, nothing. Repeat. There were days when dropping the lid with some extra ummph brought the desired result. Youngest became my washer tech; he had the lid slam knack, and we'd do a little happy dance and forget the problem. Until next time.
Last week, it all came to a screeching halt..no, a silent halt, and for the past 13 days, we've been doing laundry in the homes of friends and relatives or by hand in the utility sink or bathtub which, as it turns out, is a tad unhandy. The repair guy removed the faulty part on a Thursday, and five days later called to let us know that he was (?finally?) ordering the replacement part but it was more expensive than he'd expected. Order it already.
A week later, the new part was installed…and I still couldn't do laundry. House call didn't fix it…inpatient treatment was needed. (And that's different than impatient…which is how I was feeling.) I watched them haul my washer out the door and wondered when/if it would return. Although I had some moments of being grateful that I didn't need to go to the laundromat because we have kind and generous friends, those moments seemed rather far and few between. I began to sense that my gratituder was also Out of Order!) I couldn't see the blesings for the hassle.
The internet was the next thing to go. Poof. Someone vacuumed under the computer desk, and we haven't been in cyberspace since. It's been five days since I checked my e-mail, and I can only imagine what a mess that will be. I've had a long message half finished for my far flung daughter-in-law…and there it sits, waiting to be completed. It's hard to write when you have no idea when you'll be able to hit send. I'm amazed at the number of times each day I think, oh, I'll just look that up…oh, no I won't, it's Out of Order! I want to find a recipe, directions to…just about anywhere, (you know me?!), a movie review of the latest "must see" about which Youngest has been obsessing, news updates on that missing teen, points of interest in the area where we hope to "get away" in a few weeks, weekend weather forecast. No, no, no, and no. I generally stay in touch with quite a few of my friends and relatives primarily by e-mail/facebook messaging, etc, and the overall effect has been quite isolating. I know, so First World, but that is where I live, and it's been crazy to feel so disconnected. Even our land line phone seems to be in on the conspiracy, as the buzzy feedback keeps conversations short and to the point. Max thinks this is possibly related to the internet issue, and the phone repair guy is supposed to arrive "sometime before 7pm." Okay.
And then the van died. It was time to make the daily trip to pick up Youngest after his half day of school. I inseted the key, turned, and heard…click. Nothing. Wouldn't even turn over. Dead battery? What a Monday. Fortunately, Max was in town and available to make the necessary stop, and he came home and charged the battery later in the day. But next morning, just to be sure, I decided to double check. Funny sounds under the hood when I turned the key…and when I pulled the key out, funny sounds continued. Strange. Very very strange. And one more thing was Out of Order! in my world.
I wrote most of the above post yesterday, "before 7pm," and sure enough the phone tech guys arrived early in the afternoon. They had less trouble finding our problems than they had finding our house. (Gotta love rural.) In minutes they had fixed two separate issues. We ended up with a new modem, faster DSL, and no more hissing on the land line. Free long distance even. While they were here, I saw my washing machine moving through the back door...and shortly, swish, swish, the whites were on their way to spotless.
"Oh yeah," the phone guys joked, "we fixed that too."
"Do you know anything about mini-vans?"
Two out of three wasn't bad. But I felt a little qualm of...something as I did my happy dance in the kitchen, like something in ME had been Out of Order! I paused to recall some simple joys that came my way in the midst of the turmoil. I remembered the utterly peaceful morning I spent in someone else's living room as I babysat my laundry. I thought about the extra reading I'd done in those evenings without the internet, and realized that a certain level of peace had been achieved when Youngest knew "getting on the computer" wasn't even an option. I felt deeply grateful for sharing friends, for local laundry repair guys who were kind and dependable if not fast, for readily available, trustworthy phone technicians. But clearly, I was a little Out of Order! giving thanks after the problems were solved, looking back and noticing that there had been these little joyful moments all along the way. Oops. Out of Order!
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:18 esv
You too? (Please say yes?!)
So, for this day my gratitude list will include some serious non-essentials that make my life embarrassingly easy. Another day, I will go deep, and explore the wonder of God's creation and the unfathomable mystery of His love for me, but in this moment I will give thanks for flush toilets, warm clean socks, working refrigerator, hot water at the bathroom sink, electric lights and outlets, a coffee maker, and my dad's car to use while the van problem gets solved...gratitude is definitely in order.
Yes, gratitude is the order of the day, today.
Even (especially) when life is Out of Order!