I find the more I sit back and just let things happen, the more easily they come. Part of this “sitting back” journey has involved finding like minded people who are willing to talk and unravel the simple mysteries of life with me. Nothing brings me more pleasure than connecting with my wise and wonderful friends.
One conversation has stuck with me. A dear friend of mine and I were talking about way in which people deal with their problems and as we talked this little story emerged. I’ve embellished it since then, but hopefully the gist’s the same.
Imagine you’ve searched your whole life to find a perfect little house for yourself…and finally, there in front of you stands the idyllic cottage of your dreams. You’ve saved for years and now it is yours.
You move in. You paint the walls, arrange your furniture just so, hang your most favorite posters, and you look around and say “Well, look at what I have done. My life is now perfect.”
Your friends affirm this. They all come over and together marvel at your perfect little house and you are proud.
You tell yourself, “Everyone dreams of owning the perfect house and I have done it.”
But then one night after your friends have gone, you notice the garbage disposal isn’t working. The next day you see that the sink is clogged. A few nights later, you notice your bedroom light doesn’t turn on. You go into the basement and see that several wires have been chewed by a resident mouse.
And so you find your way to the bed that night and awkwardly settle yourself under the covers in the pitch dark. You lay there awake wondering if your perfect house maybe isn’t so perfect after all. Doubt sets in.
Eyes wide open, you hear outside as the rain outside starts to fall. There’s a crack of thunder and you sit up in bed listening as the rain increases to a pounding drone.
Then you hear it.
Drip, drip, drip. A big drop of water lands on your blanket.
Drip, drip, drip.
A series of droplets land right on your head and you think, “What am I going to do?”
Hopefully this scenario hasn’t happened to you…but we can all relate on some level. We’ve all thought we had our act together then realized things weren’t as good as we imagined…and depending on our makeup and our training, we react differently.
Some of us will look up and think immediately, “Oh woes me. Who can I find to save me?”
Others of us will merely roll over to the other side of the bed and grumble
“This is good enough.”
And others with think, “Huh. It looks like I’m going to be getting on that roof tomorrow and fixing this leak.”
I’ve tried on all these roles before. In the past I relied on everyone for everything…especially emotional matters. So, whenever I had a problem, I’d run to a therapist, then a friend, then another friend…I’d exhaust all my resources and my roof still wouldn’t be fixed!
I also know a lot of people who would choose scenario two. I’ve used this one as well. It’s the “Hear no evil, see no evil” option. Or in this case feel no evil. If I ignore the problem long enough it’ll go away, right? But you know deep inside that at some point the roof is going to break from neglect…everything collapses in on itself….or in the very least, you’re going to live your life in a water logged bedroom.
Then there’s solution three: Fix your own problems. When it comes to emotional, relational, and spiritual well being this is a good one to know. Only we can repair what’s broken.
One thing I’ve noticed however (because I’m also one of these people) is that sometimes we get so fixated on our problems we become an obsessed fixer. Pretty soon we’re no longer living our lives because all we’re doing is making repairs. I see this a lot with people who are heavily into therapy as well as members of the new age community who are so focused on eating the right foods, saying the right affirmation, reading the right books, posting the right memes. For these people, their problem is no longer just the leaky roof but the fact that they’ve forgotten how to just sit back and be.
So, I add a forth scenario to the list. Bear with me on this one…
What if we aren’t broken at all?
What if this house of ours is just an illusion, something we’ve created because we we’re told that having a house is what people do. What if in fact we never needed a house at all?
Imagine this one-
So you’re in your bed, miserable, getting dripped on. Without thought, you jump out of bed. In only your pajamas you fling your front door open, step with you bare feet into the muddy grass and just let the rain fall on you.
And you get wet!
You let yourself feel the warm rain dripping down your back, kissing your skin and you feel more alive in that moment than you ever have before.
You look back to the house and note the deteriorating roof and the damaged soffits but it doesn’t bother you…not in the way it would have before. Because in your water soaked state, you see that maybe this house idea was all wrong. Maybe all those little problems we identified with so heavily aren’t such a big deal after all. And in that moment you know, those issues you face are only as real, as big, and as ugly as you choose to make them.
Let the rain come!
So, next time you’re out in the rain, pause before you raise that umbrella. Let the little droplets dance on your skin. Don’t be afraid to get soaked, for it is here, out in the open, exposed to the very elements that we usually run from, you are truly you.
In the end, maybe-just maybe-for the first time since you started searching for that house, you are finally home.