I’m trying to just let it go. JM is in the kitchen (which is still torn completely apart from our crazy ‘ .50 cent part causes kitchen remodel’ remodel) and he is skillfully putting another wall back together while I steam organic stuffed artichokes in a pot behind him (read: I cannot eat another restaurant meal so stove is pulled out from the wall into the middle of the room.) We put the 2nd coat of oil paint (nasty but necessary) on our cabinets today with a lot of God Dammits and Fuck Yous–thankfully, not directed at one another. Currently, there is a long string of profanity coming from the kitchen which I will not elaborate on (you know it’s bad, because I’ll say practically anything on the blog!) and repeated desperate pleas of “you’ve got to be kidding me.”
It feels like that sometimes in life, right? Like life is just flipping you the bird. A few months ago I was standing at my kitchen sink when a slow steady leak began from the toekick (that’s the wood part at the base of your cabinets.) That was a Wednesday. Wednesday night JM opened up the wall to look for said leak. None to be found (that’s not good as it turns out, because contrary to my denial that says if you can’t find the leak, there isn’t one, JM insists that if there is water running out from the toekick of the cabinet, there is in fact a leak, whether you can find it or not.) Thursday the plumbers came and discovered a pipe inside the wall, put their by a plumber 20 or 30 years ago, with no end cap. Thus began the insanity of rotting sheetrock, mold and remodel. Friday of that week, my father, with whom I had a tortured and conflicted relationship with all my life, died. Sunday, I sat on the back step of my porch drinking my morning coffee and realized there was huge crack in the foundation of my house. Why does it all happen at once?
A lot of people say God doesn’t give you more than you can bear, but I heard (when I was new) that God absolutely gives us more than we can bear, to remind us that we need God. A dear friend on the program keeps reminding me that the first sign of a gift in my life is usually when I am saying the words, “what the fuck?” It’s in these rare and profound moments (her words…not mine) that we are able to seek the hidden gifts from our higher power. Note the word is seek, meaning, I have to look for them.
I’m still digesting the rare and profound part. I like my gifts wrapped in really nice packages. Needless to say, when a gift arrives in the form of being able to stand at my stove cooking an artichoke while I look through a hole in my wall into my garage, it doesn’t feel rare or profound.
But if I can’t let go of how uncomfortable I am in this moment, I can’t get any of the good stuff. If I can’t just breathe through it and recognize that it will pass, I’m doomed. And when I’m in a place where I can’t look for the gifts, I tend to make a huge mess and usually end up hurting someone I really care about. Tonight I am reminded to just surrender my idea of what it’s all supposed to look like, to think of how I can be of service to another person and to know that when this whole horrible disaster is over, I will be the proud owner of some shiny new spiritual gifts (and a pretty much brand new kitchen!)
I was distraught to learn when I was new in recovery that the only thing I had any power over was me. But I find that these days, I’m sometimes glad that I at least have power over me. Repeated instances of life happening all at once, in full swing, have reinforced my gratitude for that. So the next time life seems like it’s flipping you the bird, remember, it might be doing so with love, pointing to some hidden gifts. Or it might just be flipping you the bird.