There are a variety of things that I would prefer to avoid; these include:
Today, I got a workout from all of the above and, as I look back over the past ten hours, I am remembering the lines from that famous old TV commercial--"it slices, it dices.....but WAIT! there's more!" Yeah, there was definitely more.
I woke up with plans in mind: I was gonna run an errand for a friend and then come home to make a quart of yoghurt and bake half a dozen loaves of bread. And then I had a huge number of listings just waiting to be made on eBay. A nice Saturday.
But it didn't work out like that.
The first part of the story is just too complicated to re-hash but what it all boils down to is that my friend who asked me to errand-run made a mistake. A big one. I got the blame and the shame--you know what happens to the messenger in these situations, right? Worse, I wasted about a couple of gallons of gas zipping back and forth across town trying to get everything and everyone sorted out.
On the way home, I got a problem call. There was an issue that I had to take care of for my neighbor and I also had to resolve a misunderstanding because I was the only one who really knew what was going on. So I spent a few hours and some energy getting, again, everything and everyone sorted out.
By this time, it was late-afternoon and I hadn't even had lunch when one side of the earlier neighbor problem showed up with a watermelon (I'm allergic, thank you very much) and big bags of locally-grown corn on the cob that she wanted to share with me and with the other side. But she wouldn't go over to their house and needed me to deliver the stuff. She said that the corn would need cleaning, that maybe there might be some bugs.
I was hot and tired and my foot was causing me serious grief but I got in the car, again, and drove next door. (Now my "next door" is probably a little different than your next door because it's about 600 feet down my driveway and about 1500 feet up the neighbors' drive and then back home again. My achy foot said that we were NOT walking.) I had already interrupted the neighbors earlier when I came by just as they were finishing lunch and now I showed up while they were cooking dinner and in the middle of preparing for their son to leave immediately afterward for a month of work out-of state. Great timing. So I made my explanations, left the veggies, and beat a speedy retreat.
But I had a big bag of corn waiting at home for me, too. And I did not care to make a massive mess shucking it in my small (not Tiny) kitchen, so I took it outside. And thank goodness I did: it was absolutely riddled with creepy crawlies. Accidentally mashing a worm in my hand was definitely one of the lower points of the day. But seeing the mess that was in my corn, I am horrified to think what my neighbors found in theirs on an evening when they were also out of patience but, more importantly, out of time. And, once again, I was the messenger so I bet I'll be hearing more about this.
It would be all too easy to count this as a horrible day. It's tempting. And, yeah, let's be really real: it was kinda awful.
But as I was sitting on the back step of my porch shucking corn, I thought that I was very lucky.
There were people who needed me today, who depended on me, who knew that I would do the best that I could. Maybe everything hadn't been easy or perfect but stuff got done. (Well, not the yoghurt or the bread or even the eBay listings but never mind.)
There were people who were willing to share with me--a neighbor who came over on a moment's notice in the middle of a 95 degree day to mow down the overly tall grass in my yard so that my tenant would not be inconvenienced, a neighbor who went out to a friend's field to glean food that we could all share, a friend who made a humble apology for an unintentional mistake and even for another situation that happened nearly two years ago. We were all, in fact, doing the best that we could. And we were helping each other along the way.
Human beings are fallible, fragile, fractious creatures. It isn't easy to reach out, to move past personal pride. It's a scary world.
I'm grateful for this day. And for all of the people who populated it and who reminded me of how much we need one another.