December 8, 2020 – Trying to save the world (PART TWO).

Hello again! Back for more? You must be a glutton for punishment!! Anyway, where did I leave off? I think I was almost to the part where I was going to ask everyone to join hands and sing “Kumbaya” but I didn’t quite make it. No, I would never ask you to do that. That’s a bit of a reach, even for me. And you certainly don’t want me to sing it because you’ll likely lose your hearing as a result. And that’s something I’d just rather not be held accountable for. Anyway, I think I left off talking about the state of our world and how concerning it is. How can it not be concerning? I watch the news and I get overwhelmed. Just the things happening right outside my front door are tough to digest, but when I look beyond that, to everything going on in the country and in the world? Holy crap! So, yes, it does seem like an impossible thing, saving the world. But as I told you previously in an earlier post, “Tell me I cannot cross the river, I will find a way.” I’m just not ready to throw in the towel yet. There still is hope. And as long as there still is hope, there is a way.

And where do you begin? I was thinking about the first steps to bring about change and I seriously think it starts with you and me. I know it sounds kind of lame, but I mean it. You’ve got to get your heart right. If your heart isn’t right, it’s like trying to clean a countertop with a dirty sponge. You go through all of the effort, but it really isn’t ‘clean’ is it? And then someone else will have to return at some point after you, and do it again. I hope that metaphor (or was it an analogy?) made sense. If it didn’t, just ignore it and I’ll try and come up with something better later. Anyway, I do think your heart has to be healed before you can do anything good or worthwhile. Why would you have any desire to put any energy towards anything else if you’re not happy with the person staring back at you in the mirror? I should know. That’s a war I’m still waging. And how the heck do you do that? Therapy, meditation, prayer, there are all kinds of ways. You have to do what works for you. Each of us is an individual and not all of us find the answers using the same formula. And if whatever you’re doing now isn’t working, you have every right to stop and try something else. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!

Once your heart is healed, you can work on other key relationships. I thought a lot about the relationship I have with my husband today. When we met, we were both 19 and neither of us was in a great ‘place’. He was searching for answers in a bottle and I was searching for answers in much more destructive ways. I guess you could say I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Maybe someday I’ll elaborate on that, but that’s a pretty dark part of my history that I’d rather leave for another time. Anyway, I feel like something greater brought us together. He saw that I needed to be saved or rescued and I saw the same thing in him. And ultimately, two very damaged, flawed individuals were able to bring out the ‘light’ in the other. There are days when that light is nearly blinding, like looking directly at the sun. And there are others when it’s more like what you might get off a match when it’s about to burn out. Today, the light was akin to what a flashlight would give off when the batteries are nearly dead. It wasn’t great. It started out unbelievably bright and then my words and actions nearly extinguished it. Sigh.

What happened? Well, I told you we’ve been working to get our bathroom done. And we’re doing all of the work. Actually, my husband is doing most of the work. Today, his objective was to finish the bathroom counter, and install the sink. Yesterday, he cut the counter out of MDF (micro density fiberboard) and then added all of the edge pieces for the laminate to adhere to. He already had laid out the Formica to get it to flatten out because it had been rolled up for several months and stored in the garage and needed some time to ‘relax’. So today should have been relatively ‘simple’ but things don’t tend to work out that way for us. I’m not exactly sure why. Long story short, he asked me to help him affix the Formica to the surface of the MDF. He’d already applied the contact cement and laid out the dowels, so it was ready to go. I got a hold of one side and he got a hold of the other and we carefully laid it down, until it rested on the dowels and directly over the MDF. He started by removing the center dowel and applying pressure to the Formica. And as he worked his way from the center toward the edges, one of the dowels moved and a portion of the Formica stuck where it wasn’t supposed to. And that’s when the problems started.

Trying to remove the Formica from where it had prematurely stuck was a nightmare. While he was trying to pull up on the Formica to unstick it, I was pressing down on the MDF with all of my body weight and it wouldn’t budge! He then got out a spackling blade and tried to use that and while he worked away, the Formica folded and cracked. Some colorful cuss words followed but he kept trying, to see if he could save it. He did finally get the piece to release and then pulled it straight and reaffixed it, but the damage was already done. It wasn’t major, but it bummed me out. I went back to the kitchen afterward while he continued working in the garage and eventually he returned and told me he was done and asked me to take a look. He had finished putting the edges on as well as cutting out the hole for the sink. Sigh. If you guys have been reading my post for a little while, you’ll know I’m a bit of a perfectionist. And when I went out to the garage to look at his work, I immediately noticed a ‘dark area’ on the edge. When I looked closer, I saw that some of the surface of the Formica had been worn away and the dark brown layer underneath had been exposed.

“What happened here?” I asked as I rubbed my finger across it. I think he said, “The router got away from me,” or something like that. I could tell by his demeanor that he was upset about it and disappointed as he carefully studied my face. And I’m not a good liar, my friends. If I’m disappointed, you’re going to know. And yes, I was disappointed and I told him I was. And those words hung heavy in the air for most of the afternoon. I couldn’t stop thinking about how something brand new had been spoiled and how there was no way to really fix it. We had to custom order the piece because they didn’t have anything in the store that matched our bathroom so it wasn’t like we could just run back to Home Depot and replace it the next day. I thought about it over and over until it made me almost physically sick. I was so in my head I could hardly see straight. And then I finally was able to get out of my head long enough to notice my husband’s absence. Where had he gone? I looked around the usual places, gaming room, office, livingroom, but couldn’t find him. And then when I looked down the hallway, I saw that the door to our bedroom was closed. That’s another one of those things, my friends. If the door to our bedroom is closed, someone is upset. Usually it’s me, but today was a different story.

I opened the door and heard one of the local rock stations playing on the radio at a higher than normal volume. But I couldn’t see a thing because the room was pitch black. All of the curtains were drawn and none of the lights were on. I thought maybe he’d gone to bed (which is what I tend to do when I get really depressed) but when I flicked on the light, the bed was empty. I then glanced over at the bathroom door and saw light filtering out from beneath it. I knocked on it but he didn’t answer. And then I knocked again and he said something but I couldn’t discern it. I knew he was feeling like garbage because of the countertop and it broke my heart. He’s as much a perfectionist as I am. But I knew he needed a little time to himself, so I just told him I loved him through the door and went back downstairs. And while I waited for him, I thought about how insignificant the counter was compared to our relationship. For something so small to make someone feel so incredibly bad, so dejected, it just didn’t seem like the ‘punishment fit the crime’. I didn’t want him to feel that way, for a stupid countertop to dim the light in his eyes.

When you think about it, it’s all just ‘stuff’ anyway. That doesn’t mean the first time someone carelessly opens their car door and it leaves a nice glaring dent in the side of your brand new car (that you literally just drove off the lot) doesn’t strike a chord. That doesn’t mean that right after you had your hardwood floors coated in a ‘Swedish-finish’ and someone drags a chair across them and leaves a nice deep groove doesn’t give you a temporary case of a-fib. That doesn’t mean you won’t get a bit ruffled when you welcome a brand new rescue dog into your home and she destroys your favorite pair of shoes and several other irreplaceable items within a matter of days. The thing is, we live in an imperfect world. Stuff’s going to get dented and scratched and chewed up and burnt and shredded and bent and lost. Just give it time. It’s going to happen. But is it worth hurting someone’s heart over it, especially when it wasn’t intentional? No. Absolutely not. So after I had my own self-talk to get my priorities straight, I had to smooth over what had happened earlier in the day and make things right with ‘my guy’. He’s been putting up with my nonsense for over 33 years. Who am I to get all spun up over a countertop?

And it’s for these reasons that I wasn’t able to put too much focus on ‘saving the world’ today. I was just too busy trying to ‘save my relationship’ from wreck and ruin. All relationships require effort, especially if you want them to be successful. You cannot just drift along, like you’re riding an innertube down a lazy river, and expect everything to fall into place like magic. And I don’t even know if that was a great metaphor because have you ever ridden an innertube down a lazy river? There is some ‘drifting’ but there’s also a lot of other stuff that requires effort. First you’ve got to acclimate to the temperature once you dip your foot into the water and then you’ve got to find a good spot to climb aboard without your tube getting away from you. Once you’re aboard, there are all kinds of things you have to do before you reach the end and swim back to shore. There’s a whole lot of kicking and paddling as well as avoiding getting driven into bridge supports when the current insists on directing you right to the center of one. There’s the steering clear of the brush and logs that flank the river on either side along with not running into any of the other ‘tubers’ that have decided just as you did, that it was the perfect day to drift down the river. And then there’s the most important thing, trying to determine the best time and manner to empty your bladder so that no one else notices.

And now that you know that I pee in the river, along with the fish and the ducks and whatever wildlife might alight upon it or drink from it or swim through it, I will leave you. But I’ll be back and I hope you will, too! If all goes well, I’ll ‘see’ you again tomorrow to reflect more on ‘trying to save the world’.


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