I am sitting here on my bed. On the duvet on my bed. (Literally on the duvet which is duvet-coverless at the moment because the order for a seriously beautiful duvet (an anniversary treat since we’ve been sleeping with a $13 comforter and sheets stained with chocolate milk) that was supposed to take one week is now almost through its second week of backorder.) I am on my bed in a room which has most of the recently-purchased furniture assembled save one lone bookshelf, but which is still waiting for a hutch to arrive from my parents’ house, after which I hope that the many, many boxes and bins which are strewn about the floor will be emptied and organized once and for all.
Such has been our first three weeks in this house. I’ve been painting. We did that in anticipation of new basement carpet. That has now been installed. We’ve been waiting on furniture, almost all of which has now arrived. Of course we couldn’t unpack much before the furniture arrived. And we couldn’t put up pictures until we knew where the furniture would go. The china cabinet we bought from IKEA is the perfect example of this. We bought it and Marc assembled it immediately because we’d had boxes of china and good dishes taking up our dining room. But then we realized that because we didn’t have our couches yet we didn’t know where the cabinet would go, so we couldn’t unpack the boxes. And we couldn’t even put our pictures (I’ve been anxiously anticipating a gallery wall!) on the wall in the dining room because we didn’t know where the cabinet would go…
So it’s been a bit of a schmozzle over here. Things have been a bit more relaxed this past week but now that the work is done, the furniture is here, and all that’s left is unpacking and organizing, I just want to get it ALL done! But there’s kids’ schooling to get ready for, cars to licence, people to see, dishes to do. Lots of life.
And I’ll tell you something else…
On our anniversary I took a pregnancy test. I took a test in the bathroom of the Cineplex Odeon before we saw Meryl Streep’s new movie Hope Springs. I took a test because a few days before we moved I wondered if I might be pregnant. Then I burst into tears at the customer service desk at Safeway the first Sunday we were in Alberta (why else would I do that besides raging pregnancy hormones?!). I was certain every night when I went to sleep that my stomach felt different. And a number of other things that peaked my suspcions.
Let me tell you what I thought of that.
I panicked. I would wake up in the night and think about it and worry about it. I’d try to muster up the courage to go through it all again — to start again that whole phase of life. But I can’t even say “deep down” I was scared because, to be honest, I was scared everywhere — deep down, on the surface, even the oxygen around me was scared.
We got a test the day we went to Edmonton to celebrate our anniversary and because we weren’t checking into our hotel (hooray for parents visiting so we can have a night in the city!) right away, the movie theatre bathroom was where it had to be done. I took the test while Marc got the tickets. As we walked towards each other I gave him the thumbs down. He said, “What does that mean?!” I said, “Not pregnant.” And that was that. And now, a few weeks later, I still know that I am really not pregnant.
But I’ve been thinking an awful lot about that. (And I’ve also been thinking about how much I really love the name Genevieve…) What was the fear all about? Was it just about the labour and the toddler I’d have to chase 18 months after the labour was done? Was it because my life would be “on hold” or changed so drastically for the next five-ish years? Was it because what I want to do with this Masters degree may not happen?
Basically, it was like this potential pregnancy was going to be an inconvenience.
But, if I really think the whole point of life is love, do “inconveniences” really exist? Wouldn’t having another child (or two) be a way for me to experience more and new love in life? So this child would not have been an inconvenience but part of the essence and purpose of life?
What does that say about all of the other inconveniences that I get frustrated with all the time?
A few times lately the kids have hurt themselves and I’ve had visions of long trips to the hospital or maybe a broken arm to start the school year. Phrases like “I don’t have time for this” and the word “inconvenient” flash into my head. But, really, those times are chances to care for my kids — to care for them when they need love and care… when they need me most.
So are there really inconveniences in life?
There are superficial inconveniences — the kind of inconveniences that are about things and not people. Like the fact that I cannot hang up curtains in our bedroom until that beautiful duvet arrives (please do not walk by our bedroom window at night…) because I don’t know if the ones we bought match. (I also can’t paint our bedroom until I know how the curtains and the duvet go together…)
A house full of boxes. That’s an inconvenience, sure.
But the other inconveniences, the ones with people — where your kids needs extra attention or you get stuck behind a slow driver or even the things that are really difficult (disabilities and disease) — in the end, those are all chances to experience love. You can find love right in the middle of your pain and frustration, your inefficiencies and inadequacies. And even this house of boxes, since it’s a house that I’m setting up to spend time with people, that’s pretty important in the end too. It’s the stuff of life. And life is important. And life is about love.
Here’s what I think. I tend to be more of a grey person than a black and white person, but I think in life either everything’s an inconvenience or there are no inconveniences at all.
Some days it feels like every little thing that I do is tedious and awkward and I wish it was all over and done with. But when I stop and reorient myself and think about how I can love through it all, then there really is no inconvenience. There’s always a chance to show love and grace, and there’s meaning in it all.
(Note: my theory may be proven false as we attempt to wrangle our way through the govermnent of Alberta’s car registry, health, and insurance system…)