Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Believe in The Way Things Work

Everyone has their lessons in life--the ones they seem to have to learn over and over again. Goodness, there is patience somewhere in the Universe. Huge stores of it that guardian angels have to go take hits of on a regular basis. I am sure of it. I had to learn one of my lessons again this past weekend.

Here's what happened: John and I got all busy. And when we get busy, sometimes we bite off more than we could possibly chew in a hundred years, much less a weekend. Around here, there is so much possibility, so many things to fix up, so much that we want to do. And John and I are doers. That's how we got here. We don't usually sit around talking about what we want to do and then just go have a cup of coffee and a smoke...

And like everything in the world, that quality, that thing, has a light side and a dark side, or good and bad if you like. The light side is, you know, we get things done. The dark side of it is more complicated of course, and harder to put my finger on exactly. It has to do with worrying about the end product all of the time instead of enjoying the process, or realizing that the process is all there is. Because end products are all ephemeral anyway, even if some take more time to disappear than others.

We started to stake out the location of the horse barn on Sunday. The speculative nature of the task brought back a rush of feelings similar to what I felt all last year as we navigated the building of the house. "I don't know," was my response to everything. Should we put it here, or would it be better there? Should we put the hay storage here, or here? Is eight feet wide enough for a grooming aisle or not? At one point, I threw up my hands and cried, "Oh my god, let's forget this!" As much as I want horses back in my life, I felt so overwhelmed by yet another project where I'm asked to envision three-dimensional space, which I suck at. Real bad. (And then the rototiller kept stalling while we tried to till up the garden, and then I mis-measured a curtain for the bathroom and had to tear the stitching out--two times. Process? I got your process right here!)

This might not sound like a big deal. But it's my lesson and the tide was gathering, dragging all sorts of notions that I have about myself to the shore with it. Notion one: I am not actually capable of anything outside of normal, safe, suburban life. Notion two: I need to make this place perfect so that everyone will like coming here. Notion three: I'm too old to be doing all this. Who do I think I am anyway? And a few more variations on those themes.

After some gin and popcorn, we settled down. That night, I had this dream: I was fixing a large, unwieldy display of some kind. It was like a holiday display at a department store or something--I couldn't see the whole thing. I was applying a wet, sticky cement-like spackling to it, trying to seal it up, make it tight. It wasn't working too well and I realized that I had to get help. I ended up talking on the phone to an old gradeschool acquaintance who owned the Oscar Meyer company. He remembered me right away and as I talked to him, the spackling started to work.

So...I'll leave you to analyze that as you may : ), but I will say that it made me feel good, upon awakening, that I apparently have psychic access to an astute businessman who remembers who I am and can make the spackling work.

Breathing deeply the next day, I called the county extension office to ask if an agent could come out to advise us on the location of the barn. He's coming April 23. And then, the most beautiful, wonderful, blessed thing of all occurred. I received an email from my Aunt Lainey in Texas. She wanted to know, did I want two horses instead of one, and would I perhaps like for Uncle Jack to come up and help build the barn?

Wait a minute. Are you kidding me?! (you gotta know that Uncle Jack is really, really good at building barns, houses, you name it. And you might as well know that we wanted a horse for John, too, and that horses need company anyway.) Um, yeah. Yes. Two horses and Uncle Jack, we'll take it.

So, I got to learn my lesson and eat it too? I'm not sure why or how things work out the way they do around me. All I know is that I am grateful. I've learned my lesson again. For now. Even though the end product is coming into clearer focus, I'm not worried about it anymore. This is just a place to live. These are just things to do. I'm just living a regular old messy life and taking my lessons in the form that they come in around here.

Breathe in. Breathe out.


Alice said...

bless you! I can see you venting it all out in this post!!! I think that help comes to people who need it and are open to it - the fact that you are so 'aware' of how you are and how you deal with things mean you are so open :-) Wonderful! and twooooo horses *swoon*. It sure is going to be the most beautiful place and I'm sure that ANY visitors will not want to leave :-)

Meg said...

Thanks, dear Alice. Come riding with me!

Heather said...

How wonderful of you to share this life lesson. I can relate on a certain level. I have perfectionist issues, and have been known to be quite hard on myself when things don't go according to my own high expectations. It's something I've been very consciously working on for the last year or so, and mostly successfully. There's always something to work on, to work out.

Good luck with your horse barn. I bet it will be mahhhhvelous.

Anonymous said...


Your place could be a barren field with a lean-to and I'd want to come because you're there.


Meg said...

Oh, thank you so much!