Monday, January 13, 2014

A wet filter basket

     I was talking to Prajna last night, kind of lamenting that I had been bouncing around some blog topics in my head but never settled on anything. Lately I have liked to write a rough draft on Sunday afternoons, but was not able to yesterday. So here it was, Sunday evening and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. I told Prajna about how little I’ve actually been thinking about blogging lately. I have been actually enjoying working on my second draft of Sidewinder.
The last time I worked on my novel was Thursday morning and I had to quit writing when 7am was rolling around and it was time to feed the animals and think about breakfast for the family. I wasn’t ready to stop. I was wishing that I could write at night like I used to. There was no quitting time then. Write ‘till I can’t. I mentioned to Prajna that maybe I could stay up late one night writing. She didn’t care for the idea and reminded me that I am rigidly fixed in routine. I almost never stay up past 11 anymore, and am usually up at 6. If I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning, I might still not sleep in, I would be tired and cranky all day, more than usual even, and everyone’s day could be ruined.
I thanked Prajna for the reminder and went out to set up the coffee pot for the next morning. A horrific surprise awaited me there. Someone had used the coffee pot that morning and not washed and dried it. With the filter basket wet, I could not put the next day’s fresh coffee into it for a delayed start the next morning. And I the filter basket is ribbed and ridged in a way that it’s impossible to hand-dry. It only takes lots of time to dry. But I was tired and didn’t want to stay up a lot later. My routine was disturbed. I felt justified in losing my mind. But I held it together. My daughter Sarah rebuked me for blustering over such a first world problem. I poured the water in the coffee pot and set aside the measured coffee for the next morning where I would have to make the effort to place the fresh coffee in the basket and push START, and then wait for several minutes while for the coffee to brew. Sarah experienced extreme amusement at my fuss and she remarked how much I loved routine too.
Last week I was sharing with a friend how much I loved my job. I love to work alone and listen to my iPod. I love the predictability, the routine. My friend listened and informed me that it wasn’t routine that I loved the most. He told me what it was that I really loved, not just about my job, but every day. I didn’t like what he told me, but it was too true to ignore.
I love control. Like the coffee pot, I set it every evening that I want coffee the next morning. When I get up, there it is waiting for me. Everything is where I left it. I don’t have to fuss, or even think hard. I don’t stress, and therefore I don’t really rely on God too much for my peace of mind.
I confessed my love for control just last November and have already forgotten it. I don’t remember how deep I delved into it last time, but I remember when I was dealing with Naomi being sick, how I flew into rages when things were not in my control. I hate to think of myself as a violent bully. And I don’t think I really was, nevertheless, I acted wrong. I know that I’ve come a long way in dealing with anger, but I still do not like to not have control of my life.
So I’m grateful that the coffee pot wasn’t in condition for me to set it up. Yes, it was nice to get my mind around a blog topic I had been working over in my head. But I was reminded, by the coffee pot and by Sarah, that I take way too much joy from having things work out the way I want them to and not enough joy from important things.
By important things, well I could go on and on about my blessings. But in addition to all of that, just 10 years ago I was still an emotional and mental wreck where nothing was stable or predictable. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to eventually laugh about my weeping over the coffee pot.
So I had to wait for the coffee to be ready and I still managed. The sun still came up and here I am. Still learning and sharing what I’ve learned. By the time the sun goes down tonight I will have dealt with minor victories and defeats. But I’m thankful I have the tools to deal with them both and loved ones who don’t tolerate my tirades.  

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