There are many things that are falling apart in my house. Thankfully not me and the kids, but many others.
This week my son pulled open the Tupperware cupboard and it swung drunkenly from its lower hinge. It was unhinged and so was I. Ach. What would I now have to do? Take the door off its hinges, take the door to Home Depot, ask what kind of hinges they have that I could replace mine with, get the right screws, come home and reattach the cupboard.
This doesn’t sound earth shattering I know, but as a single mum it’s just one more bloody thing.
Then a lovely thing happened. In going to take the door off the following day I suddenly thought, “What if it just needs a longer screw to hold it in place?” And – do you know – I was right! What I had envisaged as a couple of hours of laborious life in the material world of door fixings, I was – voila! – sorted.
I felt as light as air, and I moved on with my now miraculously free day. Well, free in the sense of all the other things I had to get done without fixing the door. Which meant a lot.
It made me think about the ‘easy fix’ and how often I skip by it. Like when you’re delving into your handbag and you pull out the right lipstick first time. What are the odds of that happening?
Or when you ask your ex for something and – instead of argument – you hear, “Sure. I can give you the check this evening.”
Or when your child feels rejected and you come up with something simple that solves their world.
All these are what I call ‘easy fixes’. Freebies if you like.
Like when my son was three years old and decided to potty train himself. Start to finish in ten days. SAY WHAT?!@#$!! That was a divine freebie. No agro, no stress, just happened.
When I think about easy fixes they’re hard to remember. The cupboard only happened this week so it’s fresh in my mind.
Why don’t I remember them? And why don’t I remember the things that didn’t happen and focus only instead on those hard things that did? Why is my scale so balanced toward the hard stuff and so laid back about the every day graces like: My kid’s getting better at math! I got the job! The chicken was on sale! There was a Groupon for the party!
Why do I almost feel like I am “getting away with” anything good that happens? That the good I receive was somehow not intentioned, but (happily for me) slipped through unnoticed? “Oh well, that’s something I don’t need to worry about!” I say as I move on forgetting, to fix my eyes instead on the next problem/obstacle/deficiency.
My thanksgiving is always so pathetically generic: health, kids, home, beauty. I am very grateful but, the truth is, I rarely rest to consider the good.
Yesterday I was driving my kids to school, and the car two behind us collided with a metal trailer attached to a van that failed to make a late left turn. We were forty feet from disaster. I rushed to the desperately shaken 16 year old driver and was glad to help, but did I consider that could have been us? No. It didn’t occur to me, because nothing bad happened to us.
The other month at prayer group, we spent ten minutes silently reflecting on our day. I sat there thinking nothing happened, and then realized that actually I had been happy that day. This didn’t even register until I’d done a laundry list of everything else.
My question to myself had been, “OK, what did I have to overcome today?” Apparently nothing, given my criteria. If I hadn’t been forced to reflect, I wouldn’t have even noticed that actually that day had been one simply to cherish. Nothing bad happened – so what then, it didn’t rate for me? What is up with that?! I am so hardwired for disaster that blessing almost doesn’t seem to count.
We have been having incredible skies in LA this week. We’ve had glorious rain on and off, and the sky has been outdoing itself in majesty.
It made me realize something: EVERY cloud has a silver lining. Of course it does! You know why? Because the sun was still always behind the clouds, no matter how thick. The sun doesn’t change, the clouds do.
Why then do I live my life from the perspective of oppressive clouds only with the sun occasionally breaking through – against all odds?
Sometimes there are many clouds, sometimes there are none. But the sun? The sun never changes. What if I were to live in this reality? To know good is never absent, the sun will come out tomorrow if not perhaps later today. Why? Because it is always there.
Last week, a friend in church said to me, “There has never not been a dawn.” Never. Even if it is obscured by bad weather and clouds, it’s still there. It is simply beyond our sight.
I want to live in the awareness that the sun is always shining on me, even when it is obscured by clouds and I cannot see it. That these “easy fixes” come not as a rarity but as a certainty. And they more than tip the scale in the opposite direction.
All “weather” is temporary. God’s love, His truth, His blessings, His favor, His redemption, His grace? These. These are eternal.
What if I were to consider this day within the context of permanent, constant blessing and not difficulty? What if I changed my grading system?
What would my life look like then? What would yours?