The Serendipity of Merging Must-do’s into Get-to’s
In the process of a follow-up piece from several inspiring comments and emails regarding Have-to’s-into Want-to’s I was impressed to take a spontaneous hike onto another brief related trail, afterwards.
I really enjoyed reading about all the wonderful "little" things that Jim enjoyed doing for you. Today, I will try to clean the bathrooms with a joyful heart. T
What a timely piece! I see "help wanted" signs everywhere these days, as shop, but finding help can be very challenging if not impossible. Annoyed initially, I realized I am to be light and salt in the dark and tasteless and began to pray for and bless instead of grumble. Mission clarified! Keep on illustrating God's Way through your stories, Ruth. I remember them when I need to choose a more excellent way. C
Learning to want to do what we have to do is very relevant as we age. Whether your spouse has passed away, or just becomes unable to do some chores around the house, this is so important to remind ourselves and to feel empowered when we’re able to accomplish it! I love reading your blogs! S
I smiled, winced, teared up, laughed, thoroughly enjoyed this! How absolutely timely, thinking of what my husband and I will have to step up and manage creatively and function. And, Mac, Eileen, John, and you for the huge learning curves, energy and love, taking on and making glorious your new life assignments. I have only a few new tasks that had to be assumed, not near the level to which you all have had to rise to. I’ve been blessed and learned to give myself a bit of congratulations for successes. B
I have learned to do many things since I’ve lived here alone. I’m still not much good with anything mechanical. However, that has often taught me patience to wait. I’ve learned to save anything tax-related and throw it into a “tax” box. This makes things so much easier in March. The first year I had to do this I almost had a meltdown. I am continuing to learn and appreciate and understand as I grow older. Much thanks for your help along the way. L
You sent this a couple of days ago....my schedule since becoming a truck driver has been …cattywampus on good days.... I often don’t get to things until late or get half into projects and must do something else.... I like to read your blogs in one sitting as they tie together in a way that begs immersion …. and your brother, John, taking care of kids and Mac and Eileen. Wow! Glad I waited to read all at once...It came at me from a completely fresh angle.... So nice to be a part of this … J
Another great blog! Have-to’s to Want-to’s. I always “try” to tell myself, as well, “I get to “God is in everything; I have an opportunity to show his glory thru it all. Bill
I like the reminder of giving ourselves a bit of congratulations after we’ve attempted and maybe, even accomplished the fete--maintaining unconditional love for ourselves. The scriptures urge us to love others as we love ourselves. Humility is not putting ourselves down, finding fault with everything we say, don’t say, do or don’t do but actually being willing to be totally dependent on the Lord.
I got this far, when the serendipitous experience--an unplanned project which begins as an obligation and develops some surprising benefit--flooded my mind which urged me to spontaneously veer off to an almost-hidden little-traveled path named Serendipity with a homemade post ‘Scenic view ahead’. I remember this journey with enormous pleasure.
A week after back surgery, A 37-pound box was delivered from the widower of my recently deceased cousin, Mary Pat. “I wonder what he is sending to us?” I said rhetorically to Jim as he rocked it into our sun room where we had room to open it. We’d only met Leigh twice. A glance inside revealed the contents belonged to Aunt Polly, Mary Pat’s mom and our Dad’s younger sister. As Jim began to pull out framed family photos of her parents, siblings and the dairy farm (our paternal grandparents and relatives), I was able to identify who they were. He found photos, packs of letters, legal pads and journals, stacks of maps, deeds—unbelievable. Aunt Polly’s life in a box.
“What are we going to do with this? I muttered, “Someone needs to go through this stuff, but it certainly can’t be me”. I could barely walk or bend and had strict physical restrictions for a couple of months. It would take forever to go through all this stuff and decide on proper placements. At this point it was a ‘Must-do-something’ and not a ‘Goodie-goodie situation’. I needed time to think it through.
Mom loved her sister-in-law, Polly. They’d been high school friends. We kids were aware of Aunt Polly’s generous support after Dad, her older brother, deserted mom and our family. Boxes of hand-me-down clothes belonging to her 8-year-old son, Dick, arrived for 6-year-old brother David. We respected and appreciated Aunt Polly’s deep concern for us. But what was I supposed to with this box of memories?
As I mulled over my predicament, I reasoned that physical restrictions from driving, aquatics, walking, household chores and cooking were actually providing a window of free time for exploring Aunt Polly’s box. Bingo! My attitude changed and a recovery ‘Get-to’ project was destined to begin.
My niece-relationship with Aunt Polly expanded into utter amazement as I read every letter, pored through scrapbooks of engagements, marriages and learned about her talented, famous and decorated Canadian husband, Sydney, from newspaper clippings. Aunt Polly was a master organizer at the local hospital, garden club and other civic and humanitarian involvements including DAR—the Martha Stewart of her day. I read detailed accounts of her and Uncle Sidney’s travels. She was more astounding than I had ever imagined. Everyone loved and respected her. She must certainly be missed by dozens of organizations and friends. Her whole life nestled in a 39-pound box. I determined that the people who deserved to have these records, photos etc. would eventually have them in their hands.
Then it hit me—I was being blessed with five weeks of serendipity. Serendipity may not be one of your favorite words, but it has been one of mine for many years. The dictionary definition: “A seeming gift for finding something good accidentally into one filled with exciting surprises. Coined in 1754 by Horace Walpole after the characters in the fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, who made such discoveries.” Doing one thing for one reason and discovering another never-dreamed-of special benefit buried therein.
Reading a wedding account of cousin, Lynn’s daughter (my Dad’s niece) I recognized the name of a family-owned business where she had been employed. I googled the business and said to the person who answered, “You don’t know me, but I am a cousin to Lynn and have no idea if you know anything about her.” “I’m Butch, Lynn’s son, and she’s fine.” “I just looked at a picture of you when you were 13 standing with our Aunt Polly. “Do you want my mom’s phone number?” “Oh, that would be super.”
Since I am 16 years older than Lynn, I had never gotten acquainted with her. When I told Lynn that I had Aunt Polly’s box with lots of pictures of her mother, dad and sister, Suzie (all deceased) and newspaper accounts of Uncle Kenny, her dad, when he was a football star in high school, she began to cry. “I have no pictures of my family; their house burned. I didn’t think I had any relatives.” “Oh, you have lots of cousins”, I assured her. She gave me her address so I could send her a big box of everything that pertained to her family that she particularly would appreciate. When we finally met, we were amused at how much we favored—more like sisters. The very best surprise. The serendipity surprises were: getting more fully acquainted with our beloved Aunt Polly, the warm connection and our close relationship with our first cousin, Lynn, her husband and family, and being able to share photos and scrapbooks with the sending of 10 boxes and packages of tangible reminders to individual family units.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Ecc. 9:10
No blog June 6