Last night I ate an early dinner at my desk, pardon the less than glamorous photo.
I had a few leftover bits that were combined to make enough soup for two. I had two cups of vegetarian vegetable stock left over from a soup I took to a family from my church, a couple of cups of shredded cabbage, a bit of onion, the last of a batch of carnitas. Combined they yielded something greater than the sum of its parts, and I was amazed at how the rich sweetness of the vegetable stock enhanced the cabbage and pork, adding a dimension that I would not have achieved with my normal default of either chicken stock, or what I call Stage 3 (chicken, beef, pork). I had enough soup for dinner, and again for lunch today.
As I sit at my desk this afternoon, watching the rain through the window, thinking about the upcoming renovation project, thinking about sorting and storage and decisions about temporary housing and what will go where, my thoughts skitter about. Last night, as I sat at this same desk, I was thinking I did not want to go out in the rain, even though I had been looking forward to the Pride Mass that was being held at Messiah Lutheran Church. The rain slowed. I did go out. The issue was never really about the rain.
Once upon a time I would have scoffed at people who did not go out in the rain, and yet there I was. Admittedly my reluctance was more about walking from my house to my garage than it was to driving in the rain, or even about walking from the car into church building. What was with that? I wasn't worried about being in the rain. Perhaps I just wanted to stay safe in my little cocoon. Perhaps that is what this is all about. I've lived here a year, the detached garage has not really been a problem. Perhaps I am just pulling inward a little, holding back, tentatively slipping a new period of liminality, but I'm not sure even of that.
You know what? It is ok to be uncertain. Certainty is highly overrated. I suspect it only leads to trouble.
So, when I bought this house I knew it would need some renovations. In my head, I had a three-stage plan. Stage 1 included the laundry room in the basement and was completed before I moved it. Then, not at all surprisingly, things proved to be not as simple as hoped and my plans got turned upside down. At one point I grew frustrated with architects and decided I would do nothing. I'd buy a new stove and a refrigerator, I'd buy a small rancher somewhere nearby, and I would separate my living space and my working space, my house and my studio. It would cost less, be less of a headache, and I could just move on with life.
Somehow, it didn't turn out that way. Once I freed myself from expectation, I was free to insist on vision. I was ready to dream again, knowing full well I could back out at any moment, and I was ready to move ahead on my own terms. But two stages got merged into one. We were going to bump out the kitchen, redo the bathrooms, get a master closet, and rebuild the garage with a studio above it and a lovely connector from the main house to the new garage/studio. I loved the plan, loved the vision, it was everything I wanted. Until it came time to make it a reality.
What actually happened is that I realized it was too ambitious a project for me, for me alone. Oh I know I'm not the architect or the builder, but I still have to imagine the space, to live in the space and I am a person who can only focus on so much at a time. Houses, spaces, these are like relationships to me, they need to grow slowly, to evolve, as I and the relationships of my life evolve. I am not a person who can "do" a house or even a room. Heck, I can't even buy, or make, or plan on more than about 3 items of clothing at a time. I don't know if it is that my imagination is not broad enough, or that I focus too closely on each bit, that I need to absorb it into my life before I can open up to something else. I know, and it has taken me a lifetime to learn this, that if I do too much, I make mistakes. I realized that although I loved the plan in the abstract, my mind had hit a wall. I could only image the new house up to one point, and the garage studio and the connector were beyond my ken. I felt like I was putting the cart before the horse.
It is still a big job. But I will have the kitchen I want. The house will be as beautiful as I imagined it, although perhaps not exactly as I originally imagined it. That is good. Life evolves. The garage remains a separate entity. Now that I have accepted that. I am perfectly happy going out in the rain or the snow. And I can still have a stage 3 someday; I probably will have a stage 3 someday, when I am ready. Now I am actually looking forward to that potential of another stage, another project, another upset. But at least I won't have to move out for that stage.
No I don't really like change. No I don't really want to move yet again. But if I don't go, if I don't take the chance, those dreams will die, and what is the point of that? If I am afraid to follow my dreams, then I am afraid to honor myself. How can I live that way? And if I can't love my own dreams and fight for them, how can I love others and fight for them. Perhaps I'm ready to slip into that doorway after all.
Don't ask me how this all fits together, that is way beyond my ken.
Yes, I went to the Pride Mass. It was beautiful and filled with warmth and love. If we can't love where are we? And that made me think that love and change go hand in hand. It made me think about how love fights to banish fear. I heard it last night -- God did not give us fear. God gave us love. -- And I know that certainty, that holding on to something because it is familiar, is simply fear in disguise. As Frank Herbert wrote in Dune "Fear is the mind-killer". I wish that the rain could wash away all our fears.
So let the thunder roll. Let the rain fall and the bare ground go to mud. And lthen let the new seeds sprout and the world become new.