It has often struck me, during this time when my senses are being assaulted by machines, road crews, dumping gravel, pounding hammers and whirring saws, to ask myself, “Is this destruction or is it reparation?” Sometimes, they feel like the same thing.
Like most of you, I know a great deal more than I really want to know about both of those particular nouns. Funny, isn’t it that a house or a street has to have destruction before it can be repaired, but we mere mortals, well, that’s a different story. Destruction in the form of disease, accidents or other forms of mayhem which alter our lives, are always a surprise. Quite naturally, we chafe, we fight and we weep while striving to get back to our old lives and once healthy bodies; however, destruction is often looming out there. It waits to pounce on us, with little or no warning. We cry out, “Wait! I wasn’t ready for that,” but it pays little heed to our reactions and struggles, plundering us in its wake. Occasionally, it takes us under and rolls us around, but if we hold our breath, cry out all the tears and look toward tomorrow, we can and will survive.
If only I could call the road crew to fix it, call the plumber and pay his astronomical fee or find a nice burly carpenter to hammer a few nails and make my body as it once was. Since I’m not a road but do feel like road kill, it’s futile to call the road crew. Even though my personal plumbing may be a challenge, I confess I prefer someone who washes his hands for any of that nonsense. Since I’m not Pinocchio I can’t call the carpenter. No, I’m afraid reparation of our bodies is far more complicated and challenging, even more so than fire, flood, pestilence and now I must add electrical shock. Yes, one of the carpenters got shocked yesterday and now we have an electrician on retainer. I now know why these gentlemen did not become physicians; because they can make as much money as a doctor and have better hours.
I have also discovered and had to face the reality that all this noise makes me cantankerous. You know, just a more polite way of saying bitchy? I thought I had pain previously but have discovered having to get up at 7 AM each day to face the “crew” has me whipped. The assault on my ankles, knees and hips is greater from fifteen trips up and down the stairs or out to the backyard to answer one of many male voices who open the door a crack and holler, “Hey, Sue, you wanna come look at this?”
The answer in my heart is, “Oh gosh no. Don’t show me another problem.” I go, anyway. Today it was the fact they cannot find matching siding. It actually makes sense when you realize the current wood siding was milled in the 1880’s. We will somehow work it out.(Yes, we must use wood siding because we own an historic home.” Another problem handled and understood. Jim is back at work now after his knee surgery and I don’t think the dogs would be of much use as homeowners; they would just lift a leg on the problem. By the way, that’s not such a bad idea, but I digress. My ancient house, like me, has far more dry rot than we expected which explains why it tilts a few inches to the East. My backyard is full of burnt wood, dry rotted wood and many handmade nails from the 1800’s. I kind of like looking at them with their square heads knowing that the hands of some blacksmith created them low those many years ago. It takes my thoughts from my current troubles and sets my mind to wandering about him and what his life, wife and family was like. Were the streets filled with squishy Oregon mud? Did he ride a horse or drive a rig? Did he or his wife suffer from arthritis, or some other form of torture? Did they have healthy children, grouchy in-laws, faith in a Creator? Thousands of questions fill my mind as once again I allow history to take me away from my current state of pain. If only these poor old walls could talk what a tale they could share with me. I’m actually a bit envious because I know it can be repaired far better than a living creature, like me, can be. It will also live longer.
I have my days, like most of you when life is simply too much of an assault on all the senses but I have a built in detector that is always looking for the purpose in suffering. At least four times this last week I have been told by various workmen, “You know that fire was really fortunate, in a way. We never would have found all that dry rot under the house if that hadn’t happened.” I have had a strange feeling of protection during this entire event. None of the fire came into the inside of the house except for a smattering of coal dust and one broken window. Of course, I wish it had not happened, but there is always a new road, a repaired house, a new friend or some solution to a problem I never knew I had.
This ride we’re on, called life can be an adventure or a dirge. Pain is not death. Suffering is not constant. The sun rises each day. Joy always arrives in many forms like the licking of a new Yorkie pup whose tiny tail is spinning like a hummingbird’s, a phone call from my seven-year-old granddaughter or some kind act from a friend. We all must remember to stay “open” to these joyous events, open like the side of my house at this moment. If I felt up to doing all that cooking, we could put in a drive-through window. I must think on that.