I’ve been working on two immense projects, and the deadlines for both of them are looming large. No matter how much work I seem to accomplish on them, I don’t seem to be any further ahead.
A couple nights ago the ball bearings broke and the tire snapped on the Headmaster’s car while he was driving home from work. He’s fine. The car is in the shop. We have four drivers and two vehicles, and we live 12 miles from anywhere (44 miles from the Headmaster’s work).
The Head Girl and I own a space in a new antique mall/consignment store/thrift shop venture nearby. The dates the owner has chosen to open up for the vendors to stock their booths corresponds almost perfectly with the worst possible dates for us in the entire year. We just found that out today.
We have a leaky roof, and it’s leaking right over one of my bookshelves. The books are out of shelves and stacked in tidy piles in my room. One of the piles is about waist high. Two of them are hip-high. Then there are the various knee-hi stacks. Make a joke about panty hose and I will not be amused. I do not know what to do with them.
I may (or may not, too soon to tell) be having a repeat or a flair up of some previous health issues. Meanwhile, I’ve been in better physical health before, and I’ve been more comfortable before, too.
We have one working window air conditioner that doesn’t even cool one room. It’s been around 100 degrees with humidity about the same. We use lots of fans and we have legions of bugs.
We are building a new house, but not fast enough.
You get the picture.
Some fourteen years ago or so we had a new baby. She was really the easiest, gentlest, happiest baby we’ve ever had, but still, I remember a time when several minor crises and interruptions came up throughout the week, and I kept thinking to myself, “Well, these things will work out when we get back to normal.” About the hundredth time I said the ‘someday things will get back to normal’ mantra, I suddenly realized that there was no such thing as normal for us. We had a baby. She would be a toddler, a preschooler, a little girl learning her alphabet, and then there would be other new things for her to learn, and meanwhile, we’d move (being a military family at the time), and we’d have other new children, and we’d finish one topic and it would be time to learn a new one, and the rest of our lives we could be on the bleeding edge of learning something new, in life, in school, in our personal growth.
Normal, says Patsy Clairmont, is the setting on your drier. It’s not my life. It probably isn’t yours.
So I really got a kick out of this quote a very precious friend emailed to me earlier tonight:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.”
—The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (20 December 1943), para. 5, p. 499; quoted in The Quotable Lewis, (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1989), 335.