Friday, February 12, 2010

The Internal Romance

When I put on make up, fuss a bit with my hair and dress up a little, people wonder if I am trying to attract a man. When I don’t get all gussied up, people wonder if I’m letting myself go.

The point is, what I do, I do for me. I have a love affair with life, and in this life I am the leading lady. Do I cast myself as the cleaning drudge or the hard done by divorcé, or even the less favoured sibling?

Are these true? I get to decide! They are true if I say they are.

I get to decide what my story is all about; is it a tragedy, a comedy, an adventure story? Ahead of me, all blank pages. The pages to the left have been written in already, but I am also editor of my story. I can go back with my magic red pen and change the flavour, point or purpose of the story

It’s my story. It can even be a romantic comedy.

The manure for a good story is always just about the same. There are interesting characters that are facing times of testing, and rising to the challenges. As the story resolves we see our characters gaining wisdom, growing in perspective and maturing. They are sharing their story with others.

So what’s with the romance thing? In my world, a story about a dog or a horse is a romance story. A story about children, or estranged families reconciling, or even stories about finding our ancestors. These things are the very essence of romance; anything about relationships, interactions, impressions, perceptions. Romance is who we are, where we are and how we are and with who.

Film Shot: Put a man alone looking at a mountain sunset, and Yup! – We’ve got ourselves a romance story.

I remember a line in a Sarah McLaughlin song. “In a world created for romance”. Think Maui, The Grand Canyon, the Sahara or Niagara Falls! To me, this world that we live in, that is the backdrop to our lives is created for romance.

What perks me in the very core of my being connects me with the God who created me. I understand more of God’s nature by what my own heart responds to: Romance, adventure, excitement, mystery; a story with great characters. The stories that we love, and flock to the theatres to see, are romance stories through and through. The Titanic grossed millions. Think of some other timeless classics: Gone with the Wind, Gladiator, Old Yeller, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Lawrence of Arabia.

It is always marvellous to see ordinary people living extraordinary lives, or even people living ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. This world we are in is created for Romance.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

In the Valley of the Details

The other day I was too weary to cry.

I don’t know about you, but I seem to travel from mountain to mountain. While I am standing on the peak, I can see with total clarity; where I am going, where I’ve been. I’m standing in the thrall of the vista. All of a sudden, everything makes sense. My decisions are clear and I chose my direction with purpose and commitment.

Once that decision is made, I start to travel down into the valley. At some point in the decent, I lose all sense ‘rightness’. The clarity is gone. I endure, I trudge, I put one foot in front of the other. Every fear kicks in. My mind is caught in a litany of negative messages.

Self pity, frustration, and discouragement reign. I am lost in the Valley of the Details.

I had been renovating in filth for 6 weeks. I had been painting 50 kilometres of baseboard, door and trim for four whole days and I realized on the fifth morning that the old brown paint was shadowing through. I absolutely had to do a fourth coat.

Many dark thoughts traveled through my mind that day. This was my low point. I was tired of being dirty. I hurt everywhere. I was definitely past my point of patience with crud and dry wall dust. I was totally sick and tired of painting trim. My life was reduced to nothing but paint, tea and sleep.

My neighbours, God bless them, noticing that I was feeling ‘lower than a snakes belly in a wagon rut’, offered to share their pot of chilli with me. This was their ultimate comfort food. Probably if I had been offered something I liked, I might have been distracted enough to move into a better state quickly. However, distraction was not forthcoming.

Truly, I loathe chilli. Chilli is what you eat when you are surrounded by cattle, and ‘nothing’. Chilli is what you eat when you are desperate and going to die otherwise. Chilli is what you eat when there is no more hope left to be had. Add a whack of soft bread and I am definitely on the slippery slope of depression.

Coming to the end of ourselves; this is where, for me, faith kicks in. No distractions, no rescue. This is where we have to just ‘gut it out’.

This whole day was an uninterrupted therapy session. I did persevere. Later that evening over tea and banana loaf, I was able to giggle with my chums and make fun of myself.

The trim looks great and has transformed the space. Friends are dropping by to oooh and ahhh. My landlords have kicked into gear and are speeding the process. The 720 square feet of bamboo flooring is being laid next week.

I am out of the valley and can see the completion of the project. Thanks to the team of ‘Angels’ who have helped and encouraged in so many ways.