Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tantrum Over

I can pitch a fit. I don't often do it, because I am a champion at backing quickly away from situations that will make me mad. I don't like being angry, and I just tend to avoid volatile situations, volatile people. I figure that I've got an awful lot to be grateful for, so I try to keep my focus there, and generally, I do a decent job of that.

I was sad about Kathy. Cancer robbed her, you know. She had just retired; she was going to do things, and travel and spend time with her children and grandchildren. That didn't happen. She loved to talk. And listen. The surgery damaged her speech center, and robbed her of her words. You just hope against hope that there will be a miracle...and then there is not one. So, I was shocked, and upset, and sad, and...well...I was mad. No other word for it. I was mad.

I went to my last literature class. I came home. I went down to the new house and I scrubbed like crazy, and I was mad at God. It's a good combination, cleaning and being mad. I get a lot accomplished when I'm mad. As I wore myself out, I began to feel better, and the radio played a song:

It started then. I cried, and I cried, and I cried. I sat right down in the middle of the room, and I cried for my friend. I know that she is in better hands now. I understand that I'm not in charge of the universe. That's Somebody Else's job. So, in the end, I came to the same conclusion that I've been coming to for the past 30+ years: I have to trust that He knows what He's doing.

I got up and scrubbed some more, but it was different. I wasn't mad anymore. Still sad. An Amish buggy clip-clopped down the brick street in front of the house. I wondered how many times the house had beheld that's a hundred years old. And then I wondered how many times it had surrounded a person while she cried. And what happens to laughter? Are there a hundred years of laughter held in the sturdy walls? The neat thing about old houses is that you can bet that babies were born in those rooms. You can bet that people died there too. It's stood fast in countless storms. I began to feel that this house was very wise, standing in silent witness to all these things, all these occasions.

Maybe it will happen to me, too. I smiled a little to think of it.

When I moved from the room that I'd just cleaned to the next room, I dragged the ladder to the adjoining room. I picked up all the cleaning supplies. I gave the room one final sweeping, and then I shut the door behind me. I had my back turned to the door and was reaching in the bucket for my rag to start cleaning when suddenly, there was a very loud thump on the door behind me, the door I just closed. It scared the mess right out of me. I stood looking at the door, shocked. There was no other noise. I slowly opened the door. The room was completely empty, just as I'd expected it to be. Just as I'd left it, just moments before.

I'm a rational person. I don't know what that noise was, but I figured that the house couldn't possibly be mad at me. I'm doing a heck of a nice cleaning job. So I closed the door once again, and I went back to work.


quid said...

I read this post and your last, and I could relate to your anger. And then I could just relate to your humanity. These two posts, together, make me feel that you're in the room. That's your gift. You touch people. You make them see and know what they don't stop to think about.


Mikey said...

A house with ghosts...

BUSH BABE said...

It was a friendly 'thankyou' thump. :-)
Glad you had a cry - am one of those annoying people who totally believe in the cleansing effects of a good bawl. It doens't stop the grief, but it does release some of that god-awful tension. Of course, I am hopeless at it - cannot cry when I really need to, but will howl at a commercial for nappies.

A Novel Woman said...

I have a very dear friend, a lovely kind wonderful man, who was struck by not one, but two forms of lymphoma at the same time. Treatment is going very well, and after his stem cell transplant last week, he says he will have "a re-birth date to build into my annual calendar of life blessings."

His email today concluded with this.

To borrow a few lines from the Tao Ching: "Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."

Anonymous said...

You know, that thump on the door. It may have been a wake-up call. An attention getter.

Kelly said...

I was glad to see this post. It made me feel better. And I'm glad you feel better, too.

So how did the Kate Chopin presentation go??

Bill of Wasilla said...

You got hit hard, but made a good come-back.

Funny, how the right music just seems to pop up in times of grief.

Bob said...

God gave you these emotions. There's nothing wrong with anger, it's how we handle it that gives us trouble sometimes. I'm awful at it. I'm so freaking conflict-avoidant and I bottle up anger over looooong periods of time until it bursts forth and it ain't pretty. I have hurt people that way, people about whom I care deeply. Blessedly, they forgive.

I was mad at God years ago. Someone told me He was big enough to handle it. Is that profound or what?

The Natalie Grant song? It's awesome. Another good one is "Held."

Great post. Made me feel better too. Thank you.