You know those quote cards – the colorful ones, or maybe just black and white with neat font – that are so great to send to friends? The one’s they expanded into mugs, and t-shirts, and wall art, and journals because their beautiful aesthetics and wisdom combine into merchandise that we just have to have? Well maybe you don’t HAVE to have them, but I’m drawn to those 4 dollar 4 X 4 cards. And when I was in high school I collected them – in fact, I they are still duck taped to the back of my old bedroom door at my parents house.
I talk about my love of quotes a lot here, and this week I’ve been thinking about Gilda Radner and the card that I put on my door when I was fifteen when I really had no hands on experience with living in ambiguity. Because when you are in high school, or when I was in high school, things were pretty clear for me – success was spelled out, roles of interaction defined.
And I’m learning, this year, that those rules of predictability and behavior and pattern go right out the window the second you admit two things: 1) that my choices can not be made because of other people and 2) that other people are going to make choices without me in mind, and I’m likely going to have to adapt. Sometimes that makes me feel sad, but sometimes that makes me feel strong. This week, that is making me feel strong. Changes are happening, and have been happening, at work, but instead of feeling scared or insecure, I am being reminded by friends and loved ones and myself that I am strong, that I get to learn, that I get to choose how I want to adapt.
Too, this week was one of the biggest hail storms I have ever lived through. Ok lived through is a strong sentence, but I did hide in the bathroom and immediately called my mom. You may move out, but she’s still the first I’m gonna call. You can’t exactly tell from the picture below, but we had piles and piles of ping pong ball sized hail in our apartment complex. You know what else comes with apartment complex – or rather what isn’t included? Garages. That’s right, both of our cars got lots of ping pong sized indents on every panel of our vehicles. It adds texture, says the optimistic me. The realist me says it adds a hefty expense this month – even with insurance – and it’s sorta a ding to the budget.
Our neighborhood got shredded, trees everywhere, gardens ruined, roof after roof needing replacement. And boy, was that one unpredictable. But you know what was beautiful this week? As Dylan and I went for an evening walk a few days ago I came across a wonderful cherry tree in someone’s backyard. The branches were overflowing onto the side walk – little bursts of red fruit holding so much promise saying, “I’m hanging on, I’m not quite ready yet to fall.” The way the sun was setting made them glow a little bit, and I love cherries. I may have to go knock on these people’s doors to ask if we can have some fruit that is extending over into public space. Cherries. How simple, how delightful – especially in the piles of leaves and shredded canopies, and carnage of something unpredictable.
So I return to Gilda’s thoughts, and say you know what – I am not going to be able to predict things and protect myself by knowing what to expect – not all the time. If I can’t look for some little bursts of color, some wisdom in accepting I’m not going to know, my journey will be a bit more peaceful. Take time to enjoy the sweetness of cherries, have immense respect for the power of nature, and gratitude for insurance. Dancing with the unpredictable is honestly getting a little bit more fun. Just a little bit.
What feels unpredictable to you? What surprised you in the midst of situations that seem to leave some destruction behind? Do you grow fruit in your backyard?