"In one of the first teachings I ever heard, the teacher said, 'I don't know why you came here, but I want to tell you right now that the basis of this whole teaching is that you're never going to get it all together.' I felt a little like he had just slapped me in the face or thrown cold water over my head, but I've always remembered it. There isn't going to be some precious future time when all the loose ends will be tied up. Even though it was shocking to me, it rang true." --Pema Chodron
Termites and dry rot and rodents, oh my...
Two weeks ago I had coffee with a friend. I sobbed about something. She reminded me that I was hormonal because I'm pregnant (32 weeks now!). I think I had forgotten. Months ago I had the crib moved to the nursery and figured we were ready. I hadn't thought much about having a baby since then.
That's the thing about getting ready for the third. There isn't too much to be done, and yet, over coffee with my friend, I realized I might need to do something in the real world to signal to my emotional/spiritual self that it's time to get ready.
So I called the painter.
We shall paint her nursery!
I was thinking yellow, but big sister insisted that baby sister should have pink. At the paint store I picked up an armful of pink samples. And by the next day the nursery walls were covered with various patches of pink--and like being pregnant, there was no turning back.
When the painter came he said, "I looovve it!" referring to the pink I chose (which is what he always says about the paint I choose). But then he said, "You know Mrs. Spencer, you have some dry rot on those window sills outside--we should take care of that before the rain."
I was appreciative that someone was looking out for my window sills, because I certainly wasn't. And I agreed, if it needed to be done, let's do it before the rain.
The workers arrived the next day. A troop upstairs in blue booties doing indoor work, and a troop outside working on a couple of window sills.
About three hours in, Jose, the painter came to and said, "Mrs. Spencer, we have a big problem here." He took me outside, pulled back the foliage of a bush and showed me one of my window sills. It looked like it had dissolved, disintegrated, disappeared.
Turns out, when Jose was prepping to paint, the sill gave way beneath the pressure. Termites had eaten up to the exterior paint, leaving behind a shell of a window sill.
By the time we found the termites, the nursery was painted. But our work had only begun.
We called the termite inspectors. The good news was, the termites were local. The bad news was, we also had a rodent who had made its way into our crawl space, and our dryer had detatched from the vent, and our plumbing was leaking, and our gutters needed cleaning, and we needed to get our roof inspected. Oh my!
For two weeks we have had a small army of men at our house. Each small job has unfurled into a bigger job. Multiple times a day I have wanted to tear my hair out with frustration...what started out as painting the nursery pink has turned into a home maintenance overhaul that feels like it will never resolve.
So I had a good laugh and breathed a sigh of relief when I found the quote from Pema Chodoron.
"You're never going to get it all together.' I felt a little like he had just slapped me in the face or thrown cold water over my head, but I've always remembered it. There isn't going to be some precious future time when all the loose ends will be tied up."
I take comfort knowing that when a master realized this simple, obvious truth, it felt like a splash of cold water. I don't need to punish myself for being uptight and craving everything to JUST WORK OUT ALREADY. All that is required of me is a willingness to get wet and let go.
And maybe this is the best preparation for #3 that there could be--a reminder that chaos is normal, that life rarely comes together, and that the easiest way to stop feeling like I want to tear my hair out is to flow with the disruptions and the unexpected hiccups along the way.
Baby, we're ready now!