A week ago today I was given a great opportunity to see if I could really live what I ask other people to do…that is to remain positive no matter WHAT life looks like around you. The day it started, I missed an important phone call and was as upset about that…so immediately made myself a cheeseburger! That showed me my emotional dependence on food for comfort. It was so obvious it was like watching a movie. I was upset about missing the phone call, but the real test was yet to come.
10 years ago I made a large outdoor mosaic table using the china that was my parents. They purchased the distinctive Blue Willow pattern right after WWII and we all grew up eating every meal off of those dishes. Mom also helped raise my brother’s children, so THAT whole generation ate many meals off these dishes too. When mom was finally moved to a facility for dementia, the remaining set was sort of a hodgepodge and no one wanted them. I decided the best way to “honor” all the meals mother prepared for us was to make this table.
It gave me an opportunity to remember the many meals we had as a family…always together…to be honest not always pleasant, but always together. There was one platter that we must have used to served corn on the cob hundreds of times. We would go down to the river where two sisters grew corn and pick it fresh, bring it home and it was on that platter within a couple of hours of being picked. I loved that platter and it is embedded in the table.
After years of being outside, through winters and summers, rain, freezing temperatures and triple digit heat, a few tiles had come loose. I needed to repair them for an upcoming event I am hosting, now just two weeks away. As I got into it, I discovered the whole piece of half inch plywood it was built on was disintegrating because I hadn’t sealed it when I first made the table! I immediately turned it over to pour resin on the bottom of the wood to stabilize it, but the next day when we lifted the table back upright, all of the tile remained on the ground…in various chunks and pieces! The wood on the top of the table was like powder so the tile was glued to nothing! EEEEEEEK!
Horror! Or not! Horror! Or not! I just decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to accept that it was ruined. I would repair it. I thought about posting the apparent disaster photos I took of it on Facebook, but realized that I would be giving energy to the problem, not to the solution…so I took photos but kept them in my phone, kept them to myself. And then I started to work. It was only a table after all, but filled with many memories and hours of work on my part. A friend’s adult daughter was in the hospital at the same time. She had been bitten by a brown recluse spider and developed blood poisoning and was fighting for her life. So this wasn’t as important as that, but it truly was important to me because of the sentimental value…and all the hours of work…and memories.
Many people have been watching things they thought were solid dissolve or disappear. People they thought would be with them for a long time are leaving the planet. Homes and jobs have been lost to the recession. Many limbs have been lost in war. People have been loosing things right and left. So I saw this as my “loss” learning experience and was so grateful that it was only a table, not a person or an arm or our home. I had the experience of watching something I thought was solid dissolve right before my eyes, like a rock turning to sand and escaping through my fingers AND I found the blessing in it, during it, all the way through it.
So with that true gratitude in my heart, I worked every day for a week, and now the table is back together. A little bumpy in places, but I decided that the tiles wanted to get out and play a little, change places, and then settle back down again! I never gave into being upset about it (except for missing that first phone call). Once I almost started to cry, but then again thought about how very lucky I am, and if I gave in, I might never get it back together again.
Not a Humpty Dumpty table this one.
I was also thankful that my business is slow at the moment (THAT was a big thing to not be upset about) because I didn’t have much else to do but work on the table! How perfect is that! And when more work does come, my energy, my “vibe” will be in a really good place, not in a place of loss.
This also reminds me of a story I was told many years ago, demonstrating how our thoughts have more power than matter. The story is about a person who has need of a desk, so goes and buys the desk and puts it in his workspace. There is a fire and the desk is burned to ashes. But the person still has in his mind the need for a desk…so goes and gets another one! The thought of a desk is stronger than the desk itself!
So next time you are in the middle of a “loss” experience, try to remember these stories, try to keep your attitude positive and your vibe high. You will be of more use to yourself and those around you…you can be the legs to the table…or desk…or what ever or whoever needs support.
Being given the opportunity to be a set of legs is a gift, an honorable one at that.
Sandi Schwartz says
Thank you, Robbie…for your sweet, honest and inspiring story…don’t we all have challenges that either send us into despair or cause us to expand into our next level of growth? I would have probably eaten that cheeseburger too!