It is COLD today. Thankfully the sun is out and the icicles and patches are melting. The yard looks so brown and bland. I went to check the mail last night and the ice on the grass crunched under my feet. It’s winter and though I try not to have favorites this particular season isn’t in my top three.
It’s hard to see the green for all the brown but knowledge, wisdom and experience tell me that it won’t stay that way. Even today, in spite of the cold, seeds are germinating and sometime, hopefully soon, they will make themselves known. I anticipate that day but need to be patient. Long, cold, seasons have their place in our lives. True, they help us appreciate other seasons when they come but finding peace and acceptance in the barren times is an important discipline.
Too often we project our lives to a period in front of or behind us when we can discover life, real life, exactly where we are now.
We need rain. The ground is parched and a nice drenching would quench it’s thirst. Yesterday, there was an 80% chance the sky would open up and grace the land with water from heaven. I watched several times as the sky grew dark with grey clouds, blocking out the sun, threatening to unleash a torrent only to see the potential dissipate. Not a drop was to fall all day. An 80% chance equaled 0% actuality.
I was talking with someone this week whose having a difficult time with their teenager. This parent, clearly exasperated and their wit’s end, declared to me; “She just wont communicate with me! When we’re together not a word is spoken. I’m not sure she hears a word I say.” I asked the parent; “Do you know that 80% of our communication is body language? Only 20% is words. When she’s not talking she’s still saying a lot. You’ve just got to be able hear her. It takes a different kind of listening to understand what’s being said when no words are given.” The rest of our time together we discussed ways to hear and be heard with someone who isn’t able, ready or willing to talk.
Clouds and a parent. 80% seemed like a certainty when it came to rain. Speaking being only 20% of communicating seemed like never to a parent longing to bond with a child. Percentages, statistics, probabilities can bring false assurance and disappointment. This is why wisdom teaches that we are not to anticipate, generalize or give up when the odds are stacked against us. We enter and exist in every moment with the realization that every opportunity holds possibility and promise.
This afternoon, on my way back from a community meeting, I noticed my windshield was dirty and depressed the level on my steering column which sprayed a chemical onto the filthy glass, causing the wipers to vigorously move left to right and back again several times. After a few moments it was clean, clear and bright. “Nice!, much better.” I thought. Almost immediately another big bug splatted on the windshield. It would’ve hit me between the eyes if not for the protective glass. “Sheesh!” was my next thought. I shook my head at “my kind of luck” and cleaned it again expecting another bug to sacrifice himself on my windshield just as the wipers finished their work.
As I waited for this kamikaze bug I reflected on life and our desperate desire for cleanliness, orderliness in a chaotic, messy world. No matter how much we want or anticipate an end to the unpredictability and muck of our existence the truth is life will never be our definition of spotless and safe. Each of us travel this road and our focus can be the bugs or the distance we are covering.
Our long awaited cabin/shed arrived yesterday evening. To say my wife was excited is a tremendous understatement! We ordered it a few months ago and to finally have it sitting on our property is a relief.
After a couple of guys set it in place we made a list of a few items which needed to be done so we could get the most out it. One was we couldn’t open a side door until some excavating was done.
This morning I set about removing dirt, rocks and building a small ramp to bridge the gap between the yard and the door. The previous home owners at one time had a large structure where the shed now sits and some of the old concrete blocks are still buried. I had already hauled a couple away and as I was working on the next one, unbeknownst to me, I was disturbing a furry creature’s home. When I began to lift the block a field mouse ran out of his now “mobile” home onto my hand and part way up my arm.
Instinct took over and I jumped, shaking the little fella off and he ran under the building. When I figured out what happened I yelled to the tiny animal whose home I just destroyed; “Sorry lil’ guy!” but I don’t think he heard me.
Life is full of little and big surprises. We truly can’t predict or anticipate what’s going to happen next. It’s the unexpectedness that makes it both adventurous and arduous. Sometimes we can just shake off the surprises while other ones may affect us for a long time.
Wisdom tells us that it is the surprises that show us our true selves. We drop the masks and allow who we are, what we are, who and what we love, to be seen. The surprises bring us an awareness of self that could remain hidden if life always went according to plan.