Sucking the Dust

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.

I can’t seem to make up my mind. Then again, it’s an argument that predates Plato, and I probably won’t solve it to- night. Do I let life happen or make life happen? Some of both?

Flying By Night novelI seem to vacillate between 1. letting-go-and-letting-God and 2. taking the advice of the “What the Bleep?” movie and creating the life I want. Maybe it’s really a blend of the two for me. Some things I can  change and some I can’t. God doesn’t always grant me serenity to know the difference.

“This Summer is going to drive you crazy,” AngelSu warned me back in mid-May while we were at a healing session. “It’s because all these little cycles of learning are so short and so intense. You feel jerked around. And your challenge this Summer will be that you won’t know what’s going on, information won’t be shared with you, and it’ll feel like a rollercoaster ride. Every time you hear new information, finally, it’ll be a shock to your system because you haven’t been able to prepare for it.”

She’s right about information not being shared with or available  to me. Sometimes it’s not anyone’s fault. Sometimes people don’t even realize I care or worry about them. Some- times people have to work through things on their own before they can bring me into the loop. Sometimes they don’t know how to ask for help, and sometimes they don’t want help. If it’s someone I really care about, I’ll be there for them when they’re ready. So I bide my time until then. I try to be patient …and usually fail.

I’d love to be able to ask questions and get real, honest answers, but no one ever seems to be at home when I do that. Here I sit tonight waiting for an overworked editor to give me plot  changes  for  a manuscript  that’s  due  in  less  than  two months, and I’m watching a major hurricane aiming its ferocity at my backyard again and wondering if  I’ll have electricity to write with or even a home to write in by the time she finally responds.

Hurricane Dennis is a perfect example of my need to know. I’ll be a Weather Channel addict by nightfall, waiting to see which storm model predicts the eye will follow Ivan’s path from last September and threaten my house and how many trees I’ll lose this time. Will I need to drag all that heavy stuff into the garage all by myself again? Will I need to board  up windows? Will my ferns turn into flying missiles? Do I need to dismantle the backyard altar? Will I get everything done before I grab the girls and dog and photo albums and hard drive and evacuate? I need to plan, for heaven’s sakes! I don’t have the information I need to make good decisions yet, but if the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore heads to Destin  for the weekend, I’ll know I’m screwed.

But it’s not just hurricanes and their unknown courses that bother me. I have friends and family I haven’t heard from in days and I don’t know if they’re all right or lying in the proverbial ditch by the roadside. I suspect my phone—or theirs— has stopped working and I don’t know it. Not even an email or text message from my own mother this week!

Okay, so I’ve never been good at waiting. Ever. I fully understand that my wanting to know is about control. Not that knowing what’s happening or going to happen will change any- thing at all, but somehow I’ll feel better about it. And I can take steps in that direction. Still wandering, yes, but at least wandering in the direction that catches my  attention. Connecting my wonderment and my wanderment. Like not knowing if the hurricane will hit my town but knowing at least enough information to cancel the girls’ doctor appointments on Monday because I’ll be evacuated still or being able to decide if the most efficient use of my limited leisure time will be spent buying more batteries at the grocery store. I’d like to be able to prepare and then I can enjoy the sound and the fury of the hurricane if it merely side- swipes us or I can indulge my survival instinct and get my family to a safer location.

But Mark would disagree with my need to know what’s happening in my world and what’s on the horizon. He tells me life is a mystery and just to enjoy the not-knowing and the way things unfold. He tells me to stop trying to solve every question and just see what happens because no matter how much I might divine for it, I’ll never really know until it happens. Easier said than done. I want to do that, but my need to control the out- come and make sure everyone gets what they want is too heavily built-in to let go completely. Though I try. Sometimes I’m really good at just wandering and letting life come. Other times, like this Summer, I have occasional relapses, perhaps because some of the events of the past two months have left me startled and grasping for familiar territory. Off-kilter has become the feeling du jour.

I’ve seen  things  in  my  future  and  there  are  things  I know, but at the moment, I can’t see them happening. I do have faith that things will work out for the greatest possible good, but even within that framework, there’s hurt and emotions I witness and I feel like I’m the caboose on this train, getting whipped this way and that emotionally, wanting to help so many people and not able to do a damned thing for most of them. It’s an exciting, wild ride, but every now and then, I’d like for that train to coast a little. At least until my stomach settles.

Vicki listens to me vent and agrees that I’m sucking dust,  trying to see clearly what’s going on ahead. That sounds right to me. It’s not like fog all around me, but more like dust. Yes. At least in fog, my eyes are open wide, but in the dust, I have to close them every now and  then and put my hands in front of me and feel my way.

Then Vicki tells me something I already know but she puts it in a perspective that I like and that I need to hear right now.

“Lorna, honey, I think that’s pretty much life. It’s a series of this crap all the time. Nothing stays good or stays working or stays bad. Life is flux.”

She says she’s sitting there groaning, thinking, “Yeah, baby. And acid reflux, too.”

“Not too pretty a picture,” she continues, “but it is true. And yet,  afterward, when you look back in retrospect, it’s so easy to see one thing leading to the next, to the next, to the next, and all the pieces fit so  elegantly,  you know that it’s a master design to bring you from where you were to where you are with all the growth in between.”

Can we let go or do we make things happen?

“I don’t know how it always works, with free will in the mix,” Vicki says, “but I know it does. The only thing that makes sense to me is that the personal tapestry is always being woven, and adjustments are continually made to weave the threads exactly as they should be as we pick and choose.

“God has  a  complex  mind,  Lorna.  It  takes  a  whole freaking universe to make it all work. I’ll tell you something, the more I learn the happier I am that I’m not making all the calls or trying  to  fit  those  pieces  in  place  as  individuals  make  their choices. The more you know, the  more you realize you know nothing or less than nothing of all there is to know, and that’s the truth.”

And I agree.

But I’m still going to pick up a few hurricane supplies and keep my cell phone by my side, just in case.