(I may get struck by lightning for that title…)
Something I tend to forget is the power of sympathetic magic. How like attracts like, and naming something, whether it be something material or something more ephemeral, helps make it manifest. But I’m starting to see it in my life right now.
I started going to church in a search for community. What I wanted out of that was kind of vague. I think at the heart of it was I wanted a place where, if something were to happen to me, there would be people who would help me beyond my two best friends and a handful of people at work. A place for my kids to have adults to look up to. And a place where I could contribute to other people’s well-being.
This started paying off in unexpected ways a few weeks ago. I took the kids to game night, and for the first time they were exposed to kids significantly younger than them. Young kids see teenagers are basically superheroes, and my kids had never experienced that before, really from either end. They were both a little overwhelmed by it, but they rose to the challenge. Hero did so well with one overly exuberant little girl that the mom spoke to the director of religious ed (basically the Sunday school director) about hiring her on as a regular babysitter. So Hero now has a job, and one that actually pays! She can pick and choose which opportunities to work fit her schedule (for example, she’s babysitting during the Wednesday class I’m going to), but she doesn’t have to work every Sunday, for example, or every special event. I’m hoping after a couple more events, we might be able to get Xander on that list, too. Once he’s not so overwhelmed by the attention! He did seem to have a good time playing with the younger kids.
And I scored a hat!
Back in December when I first started, I think it was my second Sunday there, they had a craft fair after service. So many creative people in that church! One of the women did hand-decorated felt hats. I love hats. I had a real Indiana Jones fedora I wore so much in college until one day I left it under my seat in class and someone swiped it. She had one that I fell instantly and completely in love with. It was teal green with a rounded crown and a brim with a lip on it, and she had decorated it with peacock feathers. It was gorgeous, I loved it, and I was broke. I put it down sadly and walked away. I ran into her again at church last week. She was wearing a dramatic straw hat with purple flowers all over it. I took a chance and asked her if she still had that hat. She said she wasn’t sure, but she’d check. Middle of the week, I got an email that she’d found it! Hooray! She brought it to church on Sunday, and it was awesome! Hero’s jealous of it. Maybe I’ll get her one next craft fair…
But opening myself up to community is helping in ways I hadn’t expected.
I walk with a former co-worker at lunch most days, and we talk as we walk (obviously). The other day I got complaining about my basement, and how it’s always flooding and I wish I could dig out a hole to sink a sump pump, but I can’t break the concrete. Out of nowhere Friday night she texts me to ask if she could bring her husband over to take a look at it. Well, he’s a union plumber, so of course I said hell yeah! They came over last night to have a look at it, and he agreed with my assessment, that the stand pipe there was probably a drain and that the concrete wasn’t so thick that he couldn’t hammer through it easily enough and sink either a bucket or a deep pvc pipe with rock at the bottom. The benefit of the later is it would allow ground water to seep directly into it instead of having to rise to the surface and then run in. I already have the pump, so Joe is going to check around his job site to see if he can find something to use for the insert, so yay! I also mentioned wanting to permanently pipe the outside spigot and that I need to replace the water heater, and he immediately started making suggestions on that, too, so double yay!
I have to think that some of this comes from the service we had last Sunday. It was an extended joys and sorrows ritual, where instead of being a small part of the service, the majority of the service was encouraging people to name their sorrows, their joys and their hopes. Since there was more time allotted, I took the opportunity to stand up during the joys part and celebrate the fact that I fixed my own washing machine all by my own self.
Wait. I don’t think I told you this story!
Three weeks ago, about two weeks after I paid $200 to get my 18 year old washing machine fixed, Morgan woke me up to tell me that the washer was flooding again. I was barely conscious, he’d dealt with it, and there wasn’t anything more I could do about it at the time, so I went back to sleep. The next day, I spun the last of the water out of my clothes, threw them in the dryer and promptly went into denial. I just didn’t have the money to pay for another repair, let alone a new washer. But eventually people start running out of underwear, so I had to deal with it. I did some research based on what Morgan had told me happened, and decided that it was probably one of the internal water supply hoses that had given out. That didn’t seem too hard to fix, if I could figure out how to get the housing off the machine. But I needed to confirm that was the problem and get the hose off so I could drive around and try to find someone who carried the right part (all the appliance repair supply shops in our area have closed. No one fixes things any more!) So I pulled it out as far as I could, climbed over to detach the supply hoses…
And found that the drain hose had come off.
Seriously. That was it. Shoved it back on, clamped it back in place, and it was fixed. No fuss, no cost. I was stupidly chuffed.
Back to church. So I stood up in front of the congregation and told this story, ending with something along the lines of, it wasn’t the actual act of fixing that I was so proud of, it was the fact that I was brave enough to look. That kind of bravery, the “Maybe I can do it myself” feeling, I think gets harder and harder as our world gets more and more complicated. So yes, I think taking the chance is an act of bravery. Especially for me, who has no childhood experience of watching a parent fix things, and who hasn’t been educated in any of this stuff as an adult. I think that bike repair class helped in more ways than I expected!
But more important was the naming of it. By saying aloud in sacred space, “This I can do and this I am willing to do,” it put it out into the Universe that this is who I am, and has started bringing those things to me. While I can’t do some of the stuff myself, I think Joe will explain what he’s doing and give me a chance to learn some simple things that I can do. I’ll learn. I’ll grow. I’ll connect.
Hrm. This post didn’t go where I thought it would. But I’ll leave you this. Name your fears aloud. Name your triumphs aloud. Speak your hopes, your sadness, your curiosity aloud.
Someone is listening. Believe me.