Sometimes I fail to notice the generosity of the people around me. Even the smallest things are laced with kindness when I least expect it, and for that I am so thankful. This short list has come about in the past 24 hours and it amazes me that so little need be said or done to make the sun shine more brightly:
Steve at the Sheraton: Gave me a $25 discount on a premium executive room and wouldn’t accept a $10 tip, “Because [I’d] need to get breakfast in the morning without a kitchen.”
Nina: Invited me over for dinner, bought a bunch of expensive ingredients and made awesome lasagna for us. She shared her wine and helped clean up the ridiculous mess I made when dropping my plate in the dining room. She kept saying how glad she was that I could come over and share a meal with her.
Brian: Offered to let me store stuff in his garage and/or chest freezer, if I needed space.
Warren: Offered to pay for me to stay at the Holiday Inn down the street if I didn’t have any other place to go – apparently it’s a lot cheaper than the Sheraton!
Upstairs neighbor: Offered any help I needed to pack things up and move them out.
Next door neighbors (Steve and Sara): Let me store food in their freezer and came squishing over to offer condolences and helping hands, if needed.
Kim: A friend of my mom’s who happens to be a carpenter extraordinaire. He came over to my apartment and offered some guidance as to watching for mold and making sure everything’s squared away before I move back in.
Tod: Is going to let me store food in his chest freezer until everything’s back to normal. And he took my library book back for me. =) And he’s my boyfriend.
Carla: Called me back this morning to check in after having received my late-night voicemail.
Bud: Has been hanging out at my place most of the day and is fixing the pipe in my kitchen. He also expressed deep condolences and we joked about my ability to stay cool last night, despite the crazy goings-on.
Kurt: Fielded a random, rambling phone call from me when I was en route to the disaster scene. I’m pretty sure I woke him up.
Mike: Fielded an equally random, rambling e-mail from me at 12:30 a.m., because he had made the mistake of responding to something else I’d written.
Officemates: Have been dealing with a fridge and freezer full of my groceries all day.
Mom: Is going to be putting me up during this ordeal. I’m glad she loves me as much as she does.
The list goes on, of course, and doesn’t even touch on the other wonderful people in my life, and those who would have superseded these people’s efforts had they known about the incident. But even this brief inventory gives me great pause, because I would like nothing more than to be this generous on a regular basis. Perhaps I’m just not given the chance to be, because no one ever seems to need anything, but would I rise to the occasion if given the opportunity? I hope so.
Second topic: The point of all this. While I do not cling wholeheartedly to the idea of the universe or God communicating with me, I know there is a lesson to be learned from this situation. It started last night, when I showed up on the flood scene slightly buzzed, but fully aware of the chaos. Somehow I managed to joke with myself and keep moving, packing up box after box and bag after bag, making trips to the car in my high heels. Bud said today, “You just don’t want to walk into a situation like that. I didn’t know what to say to you last night, so I just stepped back, offered my help and let you do your thing.” I laughed and said I was proud of myself, since I’m usually such an anxious person. If I had had a shoulder to cry on, I would have. But since it was just me and all my damp belongings, I took action and did what I had to do. I even came up with the post title of “soggy tragedy” while I was sloshing through my bedroom.
So, what is the purpose of the flood? It’s one of a few possibilities, really. One is that I’m very concerned about my “stuff,” when I probably shouldn’t be. This situation forces me to look at it all and say, “It could be worse. I’ll just throw these pillows away. I don’t need these pictures anymore,” rather than tearing up every time I find another damp article or can’t salvage something. Maybe this will get harder if someone says, “The couch has to go,” but hopefully that won’t be the case. Two, I’m learning to be more easygoing in general. It all started over the weekend, when I was forced into a fun situation after a stressful drive through GR and a fire alarm fiasco. Although it took several rum and Cokes to make it happen, it happened. And that continued into the days that followed, through the staff meeting and into the remainder of the week. I find I’ve been talking with people in a more casual manner, less nervous and scared and twitchy about saying something stupid or “wrong.” If this continues, I will be happy. If it doesn’t, perhaps I will have gained some new perspective, if nothing else.
I love learning lessons. I hope this situation continues to roll on smoothly. At this point, the furniture is staying and my carload of belongings is going to my mom’s with me. I’ll be staying there until everything is settled back at the apartment, estimated at 2-3 weeks right now. I may have new carpet when I get back! And I will have a new kitchen floor. No more warm spot though…