(Ruby being winched backwards into van hospital)
I’m exhausted. It’s 6am and I’ve been awake for an hour… Denis is snoring loudly this night/morning! I feel a huge fraud saying I’m exhausted when here I am here in a beautiful place with everything working out for my good and I am complaining. Two of my friends have just completed big projects, one had a third of her team missing and the other has a Mum who is very ill. I’m sure they are exhausted. My own mother is in pain and miserable with an ongoing physical complaint. I’m sure she’s exhausted. And you, you have challenges that no one knows about and you bear them yourself. Are you are exhausted? One person’s challenge is someone else’s dream day. This is just my story but maybe any story can be a symbol of every story. It’s a long story so I’ll go back to the beginning or even before the beginning…
(Very organised garage)
Less than a week ago I wrote “Something I really love about the motorhome is the flexibility. If your plan doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. Another plan is always possible. I’m not naturally optimistic, I have to work at it. Sometimes I am more comfortable thinking about what bad thing could happen so that I can work out in advance what I will do about it. Ruby and this was of living is helping me practice and I actually love optimism. Google it, I think you’ll love it too!”
(The boss mechanic won all these trophies playing five-a-aside in the 80’s)
Well you know what they say : be careful what you wish for… I had googled optimism at the time and loved that it said, “…hopefulness and confidence about the future…” I have always loved the word hope. It gets a bad press because it’s related to being attached too rigidly to a specific desired outcome. Maybe I am too attached to a happy ending but I think I love hope because when the ending comes I understand I will (eventually) find the happy in it. In the meantime hope keeps me going. So my definition of optimism is: finding the happy in difficult situations.
(Ruby is still in surgery…)
And then we are stuck on a small street in a small town and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I get through the day finding plenty of happy but don’t sleep that night. My mind is racing… How will me manage until Monday? How will we get water? What if we can’t get internet? What if they can’t work on the problem on Monday? What if the police come to move us on or arrest us? How will we contact the mechanic? If they don’t come how will we push the van around the corner and down a narrow street with cars parked on either side? Will it fit into the doorway? If it does fit where will we stay? How will we get around without transport? How much will this cost? How do I empty the black water cassette so that the mechanic isn’t overpowered by ammonia fumes if this takes longer than a few days? How do we communicate with the mechanic? On and on and on… Answering my mind’s questions is exhausting.
(There’s a river just up the road from the garage)
There was something else pushing it’s way quietly into my mind as I tried to find answers. Big Picture. Think about the BIG picture. The big picture has none of the little details that my mind was concentrating on. The big picture requires me to stand way, way back to look at the situation. The big picture is like a landscape photograph with green trees and flowing water. there’s me sitting quietly by the water writing, there are birds in the trees and they definitely look like they are singing. I am safe. I am warm. I am still. My mind is quiet. The answers come in the perfect time.
(Lemon blossom and…)
Even though I like the big picture and how it makes me feel I still resist it. I want to answer all the questions. I have to answer all the questions or bad stuff will happen. The thing is, there is no way to answer the questions… until the precise moment an answer is required. For example, the question, how will I empty the black water cassette? got answered when I woke on Monday morning at 7am. The answer was clear, walk to the public toilets rolling the cassette behind you, there will be less people on the streets to see or smell you. I have no idea how many people saw me (or smelt me) doing that walk of shame because I was concentrating on the ground and even if there were people judging me, it was not a shameful thing… actually you could call it heroic – I saved the mechanic from ammonia poisoning. My point, it was the perfect answer and it arrived just in time, no sooner.
(…lemon blossom bud)
And just in time is a recurring theme… Just at the precise time we needed to communicate with the mechanic a dutch couple who live in the town and speak Portuguese arrived to collect their car. They translated and offered further translation by phone. Other questions didn’t need answers because they didn’t arise… we had just enough water. There was just enough clearance to get into and manoeuvre in the garage (remember the skill of the Portuguese drivers? well this Portuguese mechanic could manoeuvre with centimetres to spare while outside the van pushing it!) Just in time we found a place to stay with wifi and within walking distance of the garage, so we didn’t need our own internet or transport.
We still don’t know when Ruby will be fixed but it’s probably going to be just in time… Mairead.