Sunday Morning ~ Consequences
Ukatukwana ng’ona ju madzi usapiteko ~ If you insult the crocodile, do not go near the river.
~ Chewa proverb
March 17, 2019
I was trying to find a proverb having to do with hens, since the hen party was Friday night, and I found a few, but didn’t like their message. Many of them were about women gossiping and telling lies. A few were about predators hovering above the hen house, or the hyena being blamed for killing the hens when it is really the rabbit doing the deed. None of them appealed to me. Then I saw this one about insulting the crocodile and liked it. Not sure if it relates to anything I have to say today but we’ll see what comes up. Maybe I can tie it in.
When I’m off on an adventure it’s so easy to write on Sunday. There is so much to say about the week, so many new things to talk about or some new experience that has made me think about the way I view life. But when I’m home, wading my way through the end of winter, trying to get motivated to finish half-done projects, trying to figure out how to be productive professionally in the last stage of my career, it seems mundane and a bit tedious.
I read George’s blog and it is so full of new experiences, new sights, new relationships, it makes me homesick for a place I’ve never been. He has settled into his rhythm and is thriving. At the hen party Friday night a few people asked me about him. They were wondering why I didn’t go with him, or if we were even still together. One woman who hadn’t read my blog in awhile said, “I read about you saying goodbye and was sad thinking the relationship was over.” I had two immediate thoughts: 1. Oh, that’s so sweet that she was so invested in our lives that she was sad thinking we’d broken up. And 2. Why hasn’t she read any of my other blogs? She should know we’re still together!
Anyway, we are still together. He said some family members had also wondered. Otherwise why would he go off for a year without me? Why didn’t I want to go? Clearly none of these people have lived with George when he is working at something that he cares deeply about. It consumes him entirely. It was different (and sometimes stressful) when I had an equally challenging job and was consumed by it as well. Not having a job in Myanmar meant I would have time to explore and be available to be supportive, and I could have spent a year thus occupied. But I missed my house, my grandchildren, my children (funny the order this is coming out in), my friends, and wanted to work on the project in Malawi. It didn’t make sense for me to spend the year being a kept woman. That’s what it would have felt like. Which, oddly, is something I always fantasized about being. I’d imagine what luxury to not have to work, let someone else take care of the finances and the housing, etc. It seemed 50’sish to me and in some little backwater segment of my brain, was attractive. But the reality of that would have been me being often resentful for not getting the attention I felt I deserved, and not being supportive but distracting to George. As that thought played out, the dreamy fantasy turned into a harsh one. So it made more sense to me (and now him as well) for me to return to my home and sort out the next stage of life. We talk twice a day, the time change being eleven and a half hours (not sure why the half), so when I’m waking up he’s having supper, and vice versa. There is a good bit of, “Wait, what day is it for you?” but so far it’s working. We’ll meet in Maui next month for a little R&R, and when he’s finished in the late fall, I’ll go to Myanmar and we’ll have another expedition, maybe through India. It’s fun to dream about.
This all brings me back around to my house and the strong (strange?) love affair I have with it. Hosting all the women Friday filled me with satisfaction and a contentment I get every time people gather here. I love when the house is filled with conversation and laughter. The dreaded home maintenance isn’t daunting at the moment. Maybe it’s because the days are brighter but it’s still cold as ice outside and I’m finding excuses to stay in. Some things need attending to but I love taking care of my place. It satisfies me to the core. The rotting thresholds on the greenhouse doors give me some angst. I’m asked if I want aluminum thresholds or a plastic door jam? Horrors! No! I reply. I only wanted to use natural materials when we built the place. “But it doesn’t rot”, he says with a tantalizing tone. “Never have to replace it.” (the same lilt). Hmm. Tempting. Then I do the math. Am I really going to be replacing this when I’m 90? Or I could be more diligent and be better at preventive medicine. Aluminum, maybe. Plastic? No. Can’t do it. Copper gutters for the front, but what if the snow falls off again next year and rips them off? Hmm, more decisions. I’m reminded of the decisions that had to be made hourly when we were building this place. Stuff you’d never imagined had to be decided upon. Do you want that door swinging this way or that way? Where do you want to be able to turn off this light? Where should the brackets go? Do you want to see them or not? All of these minute decisions, so tiresome at the time, make my home feel like a favorite pair of slippers, custom made for my feet. Knowing the house from inside out has made this place so much more than just a shelter.There may be one day when I choose to leave it, but the thought of being forced for a reason beyond my control: financial collapse, safety, violence, war…it’s unthinkable.
As I sat yesterday clearing out my sewing room, I felt the whole house shudder and thought the furnace had blown up. Or maybe it was an earthquake. Maybe that’s why the ceiling is cracking in my bedroom? Maybe the fireplaces are sinking? I froze and waited, wondering if I should run out. Well, good thing I didn’t because a million pounds of snow and ice fell off the roof onto the front yard. If anyone had been under it they would surely have been killed. I shuddered. How much warning was there before that dropped? What if I’d been standing on the front step saying goodbye to someone, or playing with the grandkids? Oh, the scenarios that play out in my head. Someone could have been innocently killed. We blithely go about our business where we feel protected and safe. Like our place of worship, for instance. It may be boring sometimes, the music may not be as uplifting or angelic as we wish, maybe the message isn’t all that inspiring from one week to the next. Or maybe it is. Maybe that’s where we find the holy spirit in us and leave feeling fortified for the week. We aren’t thinking as we enter, “Hmm, maybe I’ll get shot in here today.” Just like we don’t approach our house and think, “Hmm, maybe I’ll die from the snow falling off the roof.” There are some places where we should feel safe. Always. It’s survival to stay away from a crocodile inhabited riverbank, but church? Home? Safe. For some anyway.
Love to all,