Gifts of inconvenience


large black dog on a walking trail

It’s Sunday in spring. Sun and chill and skies have been washed of their seasonal field smoke and back to blue. A bluest blue. Cerulean almost. It is 10 a.m. and thanks to a lack of fenced-in yard or room for a giant pup to roam, I’ve already been out on the trails, filled up the car, the tires and washed the sweet Vibe.

It’s cool enough to bake the breads I’ve missed baking this winter. To hang laundry and quilts in the breeze to capture spring’s sweetness … if not the pollen.

My legs are stronger now than before Izzy came though I’d yoga’d, ran, walked and played through the winter’s bitter chill. My arms have hinted at their former sinewyness. The baby weight seems to finally be coming off without trying – only 26+ years after the last Lousch baby was born.

I am happy. Because this great big bed-hog of a snoring dog is here and I’ve worked hard to reclaim both body and heart, my present — though not perfect  — is sweet. Not so much lonely, though on this morning’s adventure I mused (rather than lamented) how it would be fun to have so-and-so join us and to hold his hand.

The heavily snoring pup on the floor behind me is not an inconvenience. She is a gift. A goofy shedding gift who let me brush her with the vacuum brush a week or so ago. The inconvenience is that she is large, my apartment is small, and we both need airing out regardless of the weather report.

We are not running, not planning to log miles and miles – we are meeting the need of time to patter about town and trails, to greet the day, close the evening with a look at the moon and curl up with something/one at night’s end.

In these walks, I am doing more often and more readily what I have done in past or in bits and pieces – exploring the everyday ordinary of Manhattan, Kansas.

Thinking quietly while in motion.
Walking and talking with friends or the pup.
Watching spring take root in the Flint Hills.

I’ve been thinking how what could have been an inconvenience, is truly a gift — a catalyst for more adventure and wonder.

Like how having kids can wear you out and also fill you with wonder and a love so intense and yet freeing that you ponder if you have ever loved before.

Or how stress at work and school can be so crushing, and the need to pay rent and graduate so real and pressing, that we find ways to clamber atop the crush and retell the stories to ourselves and others. Better stories. More generous and kind.

Gifts of inconvenience come when the tire explodes while on the way to meet the Peeps and one pops out to fix the tire so that we are all around the table for an evening. When the doctor says this or that with her eyes only slightly shielding her concern and a swarm of before-unknown love descends from a growing community to surround and support.

Convenience is like our comfort zone. It keeps us from the magic and serendipity that calls us to one another and connect us in our frailties, goofiness and humanity.

Too convenient and we forget how it feels to struggle through the messiness of living. We often grow cold and dismissive of others, weaker souls, and too proud of our own trumped up lives – lives which whither like grass eventually – as all lives do.

Too inconvenient and we grow weary. It is too hard to ask for help. It is too hard to live and breathe and have our being. Endurance and perseverance being carrots at the end of life’s big stick. We may become hard our too proud in our weathering.

I’ve seen people jump to kindness when the opportunity arose – only because of someone else’s inconvenience. A car given or repaired. A ride to the airport. A steadying hand. Hugs given to people too often vilified by a fearful and judging congregation.

In writing this, I know I am inviting more inconvenience. Hopefully, I’ll have the wisdom and grace to look for — and to share — the gifts inconvenience brings.

Adventure and wonder, friends. 

A song that came up in the rotation, Sunflower from Because of Winn Dixie.
(Sunflowers bloom in the end of summer and fall, though…)

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