I’ve long thought of myself as an introvert, the needing quiet times and disliking noises and the company of people (for the most part). I treasured my quiet times and sought to keep life as smooth running and surprise-less as possible. It lead to a degree of inflexibility and grumpiness when things didn’t go precisely the way I’d planned them.
Then the biggest thing that had ever happened to me happened and it served to COMPLETELY change every single plan I’d ever made. Himself leaving in such a sudden and unplanned-for (not entirely, there was the life insurance) way resulted in a necessary change in nearly every way I coped. No longer was I relying on someone else to help with major decisions. There was no more of the head-buried-in-the-sand way of dealing with unpleasant circumstances. Meals were prepared for 2, and one of them was living the life of an active teenager who was rarely around at normal dinner time.
My attitude toward everything changed direction SWOOSH. Having to Deal With It when something unpleasant happened resulted in a confidence I haven’t seen since the last time I was unaffiliated with another person…30 years ago. I came to desire the company of many people and the noise, near-chaos, unpredictability that comes with so many differing personalities and desires colliding on a regular basis. I learned to Roll With It when something happened I hadn’t planned for, whether it’s a hurricane interfering with plans and freezer contents, or picking up a friend’s 4 kids at 11:00 pm so they can sleep while she deals with other stuff. My attitude 3 years ago would have been “I CAN’T DO THAT I DIDN’T PLAN FOR IT” Now it’s “eh, why not. I’ll pile them on the couch and feed them grits for breakfast. We’ll skip church and watch Kid’s Baking Championship instead” The hurricane meant losing water and power for a couple of days but so what, we’ll play games and drink warm beer. 3 years ago I would have been in a real tizzy and upset.
Now, I love having people in the house. Lots of them, making lots of noise. Whether it’s children scattering legos all over the place (I keep the legos just for the kids because…well. Because). I love people getting in my way in the kitchen while I’m cooking (I used to hate that and was VERY territorial), offering opinions and making messes. An example: Last night one of them decided they’d make hot wings. So at 8:30-9, there was a person frying wings, another one making sauces, booze and juice in one area, paper bags another (for grease absorption), piles and mess and bowls full of stuff and noise and laughter. I kind of stood aside and watched with joy and wonder at what was happening. It was about that time the friend who needed help with the kids called, and 4 more people were added to the mix, and my delight in the situation increased by that much (doubled…).
This morning I am sitting here, watching all the stuff happening, people wandering through getting coffee and breakfast. I spent about 45 minutes in the kitchen with an 11 year old making grits, sausage, and eggs. An 8 and 9 year old tried to bicker for about 30 seconds but stopped when they were reminded of my opinion of bickering and how that behavior results in legos disappearing, and it has been quiet contented playing since. A flipped coin allowed for some TV watching with each person choosing a show in turn. Adult-ish people are wandering around, heating up coffee and grunting at the pot of cheese grits, dogs are alternately giving the small people the stink-eye and attempting to mooch sausage off the big people. And I am sitting here feeling the bubble of joy churn around in my heart, so thankful for all of them.
I know right now is how very much I’m loving being surrounded by so many people and all the accompanying noises and “inconvenience”. 3 years ago it would have been an absolute inconvenience. Now, it’s an enormous blessing. Now I’ve become able to decide on a moment’s notice how to feed 9 people a hearty breakfast (grits, y’all. A big pot of grits cooked in broth with some cheese and eggs added, makes them all think they’ve eaten a big breakfast) (and I have no idea what I’m going to do for lunch…and 3 years ago I would have to have planned it out a week before and bought groceries and had it all written down. I’ll come up with something. Maybe leftover grits.)
and every bit of this happening with an oven that doesn’t work.
I will never cease to be amazed at God’s plan for my life, and how he has worked everything out in ways that are beyond my comprehension.