This whole concept of "Life as a Story" has been suggested/discussed quite a bit in the past few years. I think the Donald Miller book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" had alot to do with starting that conversation. At least for me it did.
Anyway, these past twelve months or so, I've been watching my life unfold as a story. Not a story book or novel, as much as a weekly sitcom. Hmmm. Maybe not sitcom exactly, but weekly drama. I'm a character in my story, but not the main one; it's an ensemble cast. There is no lead role. I play the (stereotypical) divorced friend. Each friend/family member has a role. (And, coincidently, they were perfectly cast.) (Whoever did the hiring, did a fabulous job.)
This summer I've been following the twitter accounts of two writers I admire, Diana Gabaldon and Anne Lamott. So the whole story theme is strong for me right now. (Especially since Diana's first book, "Outlander" is being made into a mini series and I'm watching them cast the characters, and write the script and prepare for production. And it's all just so very interesting.)
The other reason the whole story theme is so real for me, is that each week I experience something that I have no control over and say to myself, "Who the heck is writing this script? Very creative, sir. Didn't see that coming. Nice twist."
That weekend I was in Seattle with friends hanging out in Pike Place Market before the Amy Grant concert?
And after we did the Ghost Tour? One of us was convinced a vital girl part was going to fall out of her body. She suddenly sat down in front of the gelato stand and while her frozen treat melted she described in detail what was happening and how it felt. The nurse amongst us suggested she lie on her back and put her legs up on the building to hold everything in. And if she wanted? She (the nurse) would take a quick peak? Just to make sure her uterus and other lady bits were still tucked up inside. She could use the tiny gelato spoons as instruments to uh, substitute for a scapula. ( I just googled 'scapula' to make sure I was using the correct term. I am. Don't bother googling.) I couldn't stop laughing. It was seriously the best bit of writing you could imagine. And it was like that all day.
One incident after another, and I kept thinking, 'who is writing this script? It's so good.' I felt that way right up til the very last comment in the truck, just as we were passing through the border, when the die hard Amy fan amongst us said, "Yes, but, I wonder where she's sleeping tonight?" If this was a two-hour season-ending episode, it was a very satisfying one.
And then came this weekend.
I was preparing for it on Thursday night, (Yay! A weekend in Vancouver! Yaletown! Perfect exploring weather anticipated!) when I got a message advising me that the cat I would be 'babysitting' actually had cancer and was in it's final stages. I prayed about that. Because, well. I'm not much of a pet person.
OK. I'm not at all a pet person.
And I'm not confident in my compassion levels for a sick animal. Nor my ability to care for one properly. If I'm going to do something, I'm going for the "A". And this wasn't really a test I could study for. I prayed. And asked God to intervene.
He didn't. Or it didn't seem like He did.
Somehow it was part of His plan that I deal with this.
So on Friday before I headed into Vancouver, I had to go to work. Except it wasn't a work day. It was our annual Staff Day. We were going to volunteer in the morning. And play in the afternoon.
I signed up to volunteer at The Gateway of Hope (Salvation Army Shelter), assuming I'd be assigned something in keeping with my skillset and age and gender.
I was assigned to TRUCK WASHING duty.
And within two minutes the overspray from the hose wrecked my bangs and for the rest of the day I felt ugly. The end.
That was a short, crappy storyline.
After we finished washing their fleet, I dusted the ceiling lights and washed interior windows.
I AM A LAZY OFFICE WORKER.
In my real life I sit at a desk for 8 hours a day.
I was worn out by noon.
However, after a morning of doing manual labor, I went bowling. With the rest of the staff team.
My right shoulder? Is still frozen. Yes, it's a real thing. Go to frozenshoulder.com if you don't believe me.
And my right foot? Is broken. Has been for the past three months. I haven't mentioned it because it's embarrassing to have so many faulty body parts, ye ken? But there's something wrong with it. So much so that I'm actually going to see my doctor about it. Tomorrow. He's going to die of shock. OK, maybe not. But he will be surprised. I never see him for things that 'just' ache. "What? You're here for something other than a bladder infection? You actually do have other body parts? I'm confused? Your urinary track is fine? Are you wasting my time, woman?"*
So. I'm bowling, with bad bangs, a broken foot and a bum shoulder.
On my team are the President of Focus, my supervisor, and a tall, slender, confident woman who works downstairs in the building. My name was first on the list, so I threw the first ball. "GOD. Please help me not suck." My entire body was so tense that when I straightened up after lofting the first 110 pound bowling ball down the alley, I saw stars.
I saw stars for each of the ten frames during that first game. My foot was throbbing every time I bent my knee and put all my weight on it. And don't talk to me about throwing bowling balls with a shoulder that doesn't like to move. Half way through that first game I thought I was going to faint. Oh those little sparkly stars...
PLUS IT WAS BLINKIN HOT IN THERE. And I couldn't take off my sweater because then my upper arms would show. According to a fashion concious friend of mine, women over 50 don't wear sleeveless tops in public. So I melted.
I prayed for a good roll with every turn.
Know what? I think I found the one place where our prayers don't make it past the roof... Bowling Alleys. You're on your own in there. God will not give you a strike if you can't manage to throw/roll in a straight line down the centre.
I am not a fun person to have on your team if fun is the goal.
Seriously. I am a putz.
My team: (Pres is taking his turn)
Notice all the smiles?
Yeah. I probably didn't have one. I was serious.
Seriously trying not to pass out from heat exhaustion, physical pain and sheer stupidity.
THIS level of tenseness is what I took with me into Vancouver.
Aren't you glad you weren't written into this week's script? Because laughter was not abundant.
Part Two of my weekend adventures to follow.
* I started writing this on Monday night.
It's now Tuesday night - and I've been to the doctor.
He's pretty certain I have a stress fracture on my fifth metatarsal bone of my right foot. I'll get it x-rayed tomorrow.
I knew it was sore. It absolutely killed in June when I was boxing up the contents of my house. I packed up that whole bloody house with a broken foot and a paralyzed shoulder. Is no one handing out awards for feats of strength and endurance like this?
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. An absolutely glorious evening at the lake with a friend who loves to cook. We sat on the deck and ate and talked for hours. And just finished watching PS I Love You. Sigh. Irish men are going to be the death of me.
2. I really, really love this place. I feel so lucky.