I had great plans for this week. So much would be done. New beginnings, final closings, progress, change. . . and then I got a cold. Not an ordinary cold, but a nasty, painful, achy, dull throbbing cold. Sitting up is a challenge. I’ve hit the wall, a cold, icy wall. I’m down on the ground, dazed and more than a little confused. Part of me wants to whine, “Why me?” and “Again?” “You’ve got to be kidding me!” “What about all my projects and good intentions?”
Even the dazed and confused parts of me know that “what is, is.” Some times, I really hate my inner Buddha but I’m learning you just can’t fight it. There are lots of things I can’t fight.
Traffic, the decisions of others, the weather, time, and unexpected and unwanted illnesses, and God.
It isn’t the inner Buddha, that is causing me problems. It’s my view of God, the Universe, the Force. Apparently, there is a part of me that is thinking it deserves a reward. And it does! And I do! Not getting it isn’t punishment and that’s where my thinking starts to get really faulty. Apparently, there is a higher purpose at play here, one I do not understand. Understanding isn’t my job. Acceptance is. I’d like to understand. I really want to understand but there is a point in which the desire to know has to concede to the desire to be.
Case in point: My mother speaks a language, I do not. It is the language of dish towels. Dish towels seem to be a symbol of something else. She is always giving me dish towels. Some times they are new towels she purchased at a church bazaar or event. The last dish towels were the result of her lucky number day at Bi-Mart. She didn’t really like these towels but she thought I might.
This language of towels always leaves me speechless for a few moments. I don’t understand what the towels represent, if anything. The frequency in which “towel” is spoken would indicate otherwise. They are a currency of sorts, a means of exchange. I don’t know if I have the foggiest idea what we are exchanging but since they are offered, I always accept. In my world, dish towels are a commodity. I don’t own a dish washer. I use dish towels every day, multiple times a day. Few of them match. If they did match in the beginning, they don’t now. They quickly succumb to the trials of overuse. There is no color scheme, no pretty days of the week displayed on cute little hangers in my kitchen. There are only towels that wear out quickly. Their colors fade. They pick up the occasional stain. They wear thin and then I cut them up and sew them together in double-duty squares and use them as dish cloths. Towels are a commodity and elements of conservation. This I understand but when they are substituted for words, I’m not sure what they are trying to say.
Things get substituted for feelings and concepts all the time. As I write this an argument breaks out in the kitchen between my children over the disposal of the last of the milk. Child A thinks it has expired and needs to be poured down the drain. As Child A does so, Child B screeches in protest. The screeching pulls me from the keyboard. I wear the hat of investigator. Child A builds a convincing case. Sour milk testing protocol has been followed. Child B’s howl seemed to come from a place deep within. The milk was more than milk to Child B. I remind Child B that it was milk and not something else like love or affection. Sour milk doesn’t belong in our bowls or our stomachs. Nor does sour love or affection.
For a moment, I wonder if there is something sour in the towels. I remind myself they are only towels. I can’t control what other people may or may not see in them, no more than I can control this tug-of-war over milk. I don’t know what dish towels or sour milk mean. It’s possible they don’t mean anything. What they mean matters much less than accepting them and living in spite of them, in spite of my ignorance, in spite of the unpleasantness these things some times bring.
Towels, sour milk and this cold are what have been given to me today. I do not understand them. What is, is.