Sunday, May 11, 2014
When things take us by surprise—Carolyn R. Wilker
This week has been one of surprises and evidence of change in our lives—some of which does not come entirely by surprise. You see those little signs of those changes, if you look for them, but others, such as a death, can completely turn your world upside down and change the landscape around you.
Earlier on Friday, Heather came for a visit, one that we’d planned weeks ago. We talked about our work and other activities we’re engaged in and how those events shape our lives and contribute to both health and happiness or stress and distress. And since we both enjoy word games, I brought out my Scrabble board and letter tiles and we played a game.
Before the visit was over, I received a phone call from someone who asked me to sit down before she relayed her news. Surprises, and yet in some ways we might have seen this coming. But still I was not ready to hear it. I had to deal with that at the moment and then, because I had a guest in my home and an event to host that evening, I had to set that news aside or at least try to.
On our way to storytelling, my friend Judy and I talked about events and circumstances that could take over the rest of our lives. She called it compartmentalize, which means to set something into its own space, then deal with it at a separate time.
We had a good evening of storytelling at The Button Factory, with engaged listeners and a great variety of stories, including two of the musical variety. It was my first time to host, and it had gone well. I had been able to focus, to tell my stories and lead the evening, with only a hint to a fellow storyteller that other things had absorbed my attention and, therefore, I hadn’t much time to feel nervous. But my stories were ready and I was ready to tell them.
Home again, and nearly ready to settle in for the night, I quickly checked email on my Playbook, for it was 11:00 p.m. by that time. While sipping on a last cup of tea, I checked if anything of an urgent nature had come up. One email caught my eye and seemed more prominent than the rest. Had I read it correctly? I scanned the email again and tried to shut out everything else from the day. Denise’s husband had died. I didn’t know Dennis, but I know his wife Denise. Through The Word Guild, through Write! Canada and events I’ve attended where she’s been there also.
Compartmentalize again. I decided to send a card to Denise since I couldn’t get to the funeral. I want her to know she’s in my thoughts and prayers, especially now.
In my dreams all those pieces of news swirled around and around, my weary brain trying to sort everything out and put it into order.
As I process all this news and think of the implications, I remember again that God is with us wherever we are. He knows our thoughts, our worries, our concerns and our delight.
I must admit that I have a hard time putting my worries in his lap and leaving them there, but I try again. Nothing will bring Dennis back, but we have the certainty of knowing he is with God now. That much will be a relief to his family in this sad time.
While other matters seem to be unsettled, we will eventually deal with those too. Perhaps compartmentalize is the best word after all, that and accepting the grace available to us, through no actions of our own. God with us.
Carolyn R. Wilker, editor, writer, storyteller
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