Our Better Stories
Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay.
I write this post amid construction noises. Repairs are being made after an undetected, leaky pipe wreaked havoc on our floors and cabinets. When we learned of the hidden flood, the contractors mopped and dried and disassembled, leaving us without a kitchen or any common living area. And then they quit.
That was almost three months ago.
Due to an odd assortment of COVID19 related delays, the work of putting everything back together has just begun today. Living in the back of the house for months--eating mostly take-out on our bedroom floor--has added a layer of stress to a time that was not short on stressors.
And before it is all over with, we will have to move all the way out of the house, storing our books and dishes and chairs and toys while we live in an Air BNB for an undetermined amount of time.
For the most part, I've stayed positive and focused on what I can "control." But I am weary of the chaos and hungry for the normalcy of my home during a time when so much else can't be normal.
On Sunday evening two sweet friends came over to sit six feet apart around a campfire and visit. I bent their ears about feeling simultaneously frustrated by the prospect of moving out and relieved that repairs would begin. On hearing of our impending move, Valerie said someting like, "I once had an aunt who felt stuck in her life. So she took everything out of her house onto the lawn and put it all back in a better way."
And the frightened, overwhelmed, tender part of me grabbed onto that story like a scuba diver following a rising line of bubbles to the surface for air just in time! I was buoyed by the very idea of it. The visual image of Valerie's aunt rallying her husband to help her drag everything onto the lawn to redesign her living space from the bottom up. The metaphor of getting unstuck by looking at all the pieces of your life and reimagining or tossing them. There is such hope in the desperation of reaching that point, of shaking things up and reinventing our spaces, even our lives.
So it seems that my New Year will be heralded with a rich opportunity to reorder, repair, and reclaim. It is a Marie Kondo experience on steroids, and intense physical and emotional taking stock had not even been in my universe of perspectives. Just as Valerie's story changed the way I felt about our move, stories give us an opportunity to open our hearts and see a way forward. When our imagination is against a wall, stories let us get a leg-up from someone else's.
Thank you to the writer-teachers at the Two Writing Teachers Blog.
Dr. Jan Burkins is a full-time writer, consultant, and professional development provider.