The Universe at Work

It’s pretty amazing to be on the receiving end of random acts of kindness. A beautiful and generous soul delivered a delicious dinner to us tonight. This is a woman I met at the co-op, the mother of one of my middle daughter’s class mates, someone I don’t actually know that well at all. When my pregnancy news came up in a conversation last Friday, though, she offered to bring us dinner. I was so totally surprised, and even though I generally try to remind myself that I can use all the help I can get, I had all these terrible guilt feelings like “Oh no, have I been whining that loudly?” and “I don’t really deserve such an offer of generosity – there are so many people worse off than me” and things like that. But I didn’t listen to Bad Mind and instead I thanked her and when she asked me which day would be best, I told her Tuesday as Patrick is gone all day until late at night.

What I didn’t know then was that I was going to have a really hard day today (for no particular reason other than I’m feeling a lot of pressure and discomfort in my lower pelvis and that has me totally freaked out), that I would spend much of the day spontaneously bursting into tears, and that her arrival on my doorstep would be the most timely and perfect gift. And if that wasn’t amazing enough, the same exact thing happened last week. I got a phone call late Wednesday night from somebody I hadn’t seen in several weeks. She was just calling to see if I would be at the meeting on Saturday, and if we could by any chance use a meal that day because she was planning a dinner and she knew there would be more than her family could eat. What Mary didn’t know was that I had just had the ultrasound that morning and had spent the better part of the day in tears, processing all my feelings. I felt like the universe was saying to me, don’t worry, all is well and you will be taken care of…

Which all reminds me of this great passage from Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies. At this particular point in her life, she’s living next to a man named Rick who is dieing from lung and brain cancer. She writes:

We made arrangements for Rick to come by in an hour, and I went back upstairs. I hate being the kind of person who tries to get someone with stage-four metastatic lung cancer to feel sorry for her just because she had a headache. (Though it was an ice-pick headache.) But the way I see things, God loves you the same whether you’re being elegant or not. It feels much better when you are, but even when you can’t fake it, God still listens to your prayers. And he or she will try to send you an Eskimo.

Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says, “Well isn’t that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that old woman over there some water, and I’ll figure out what we’re going to do about your stuff.”

Thank you, Mary and Maryse, for getting an inelegant woman some water, and I pray that an Eskimo will be along soon to help you with your stuff, whatever that may be.

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~ by jenzai on April 15, 2008.

One Response to “The Universe at Work”

  1. Dear Jen,
    I woke up from falling asleep with Mariana to change my clothes, pray, and go back to sleep. Along the way, i found the kitchen was still a mess, and my email begged to be read. Somehow, from there i found my way to your blog site which i had glimpsed (and enjoyed) before. With everyone quietly & peacefully sleeping…i allowed myself the luxury of reading about what i love…life…real life.
    I can’t tell you how much i have enjoyed reading about your life, family, thoughts, struggles, and achievements…your writing gives your readers a glimpse into your heart, mind, and soul. Clearly, you are an intelligent, sensitive, multi-faceted woman…and a wonderful mother. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to meet at the CO-OP. For all the reasons you mentioned in your blog…i was very sad to see the CO-OP end. But time and time again, things have not worked out as i had wished, but have worked out for the best. I really struggled with letting go of the CO-OP…but i think i was struggling with letting go of the community (which you described) and the haven for my children. Seeing that run it’s course and letting go of the struggle lead me to new opportunities and will hopefully lead my children and I to new positive experiences. Anyway, it’s been comforting to know Scout & Mariana will continue to be in the same class…and we will continue to be in the same school community. I am really proud of you for taking the “unschooling” path with Daryl…as I know i may be joining you one day…and it’s always nice to take these journeys with friends.
    Well, just a few more comments and i’ll stop rambling…your video of Scout’s birth brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. It beautifully captured your connection to your family, husband, children, life, and your love of it all. Lastly, i’m truly honored to be mentioned in your blog. I did so little and never expected so much in return. I am very grateful for your prayers and want you to know they have been answered time and time again. If not, i probably wouldn’t be where i am today. I can’t tell you how many eskimos have miraculously appeared in my life and pulled me out of the snow with kindness and compassion. You might not remember, but you were an Eskimo for me…when i was struggling with all my fears and guilt regarding Mariana’s hearing & speech…somehow you were there at the exact moment i felt i could talk about it (at the garage sale you mentioned in your blog)…prior to that moment, i was carrying everything in my mind and heart, and it was too overwhelming for me to put into words. So here i was at the garage sale, only hoping to pitch in with COOP duties, and i found my self unexpectedly talking about something which had been lodged in my throat like a huge, ten ton boulder. You listened and i felt understood, and assured things would be okay. You gave me a big glass of water…and that boulder became little pebbles that washed away. The glass of water you gave me was much bigger in comparison to what i gave you. Thank you.
    Maryse

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