This I Believe

Karin - Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Entered on December 19, 2007

I’ve gotten a lot of organizing and cleaning done in my house lately. Still, I can’t believe how fast chaos returns. Today, between getting my four- and six-year-old children ready for the day, feeding us all, and getting myself ready for work, I left the dirty pancake dishes on the counter before heading out the door. When I got home from work, the dishes had not miraculously disappeared. That kind of thing often heralds a cycle of entropy in the house. I know I’ll get on top of it again soon, temporarily. But today it struck a painful chord in me.

In the last two years I’ve been through a lot. My marriage was on the rocks, and I was dealing with being the mother of two small children while supporting my family financially, when both my father and mother were diagnosed with cancer. Dad died painfully, lingering. Four weeks later my mother, mericfully, passed quickly with the help of a lot of morphine. Soon after that, my marriage breathed its last. Then I lost two friends to cancer before I finally decided I needed to believe in something.

In a nutshell, I decided to trust. I used to pay lip service to the idea that the universe is a perfect place…that all things are harmoniously unfolding according to a benevolent plan. It’s hard to see that plan when I’m scraping the dried pancakes and syrup off the plates. It’s easy to fall into a bitter place, feeling alone, missing Mom and Dad, wishing I had a partner to help or to just ask about my day. Dad used to say that most of us have “unreasonable expectations of rescue”. I sure did. My understanding of the universe as a benevolent place was immature. I took no personal responsibility for it.

Now, I practice my belief. That means I practice trusting. And believe me, I need the practice! Luckily, the universe does provide. The opportunities are endless, among the day-to-day of raising children, the demands of a challenging job, the insecurity of dating after 40, or the frustration with a driver who can’t visualize using his turn-signal. I choose to suspend my disbelief in the harmony of it all. That’s all. It is a choice which creates the possibility of grace, though it doesn’t guarantee it. But at least it is a choice. And sometimes I really do see, there’s a symphony happening here, dirty dishes and all!