Friday, November 03, 2006

Doing the best we can

There's a tree on our property that has been dead, evidently, since God was a child, and we have finally gotten around to removing it. I've been calling and getting estimates for a week, and one guy said he could do it this week because it was so dead that he was afraid parts of it could fall and hurt someone. D has been trying to get in good with the little girls next door who have absolutely no time for him, and I thought ithat removing the large arboreal hazard that hangs over their house would be a nice first step towards d├ętente.

So when the guys showed up today to cut it down, I was a little irked not to get so much as a warning phone call, but I rolled with it because basically, we wanted it done ASAP. Of course, when my mother called to let me know they were cutting down the wrong tree, I thought, "Idiots. And you thought they'd do a good job. Nice going." So I instructed my mother to ask them to stop and called the dude I'd been back-and-forthing with about the tree, and he agreed to skibble on over and take care of bidness.

When I called my mom back, she explained that no, actually, they just had to trim part of the good tree out of the way to get the dead tree out and that um, actually, we had a bigger problem now, because the door had locked behind her on her way out. And, uh, D was inside. Alone.

We have no spare key. My mother had my keys, presumably inside, and Daddymatic was a bus and a tram ride away at work. To my credit, I didn't freak right away. To my shame, I did eventually freak out pretty badly. I envisioned every horrible possible scenario, I cursed my own stupidity for a) not having a spare key hidden and b) having jumped the gun on the tree guys, who knew what they were doing after all and c) not removing every possible hazard from my home and even d) having a job that meant I wasn't around to run the show. But every line of thought I came to led to one conclusion: there was absolutely, physically, humanly, nothing I could do to fix this. For at least 20 minutes, anyway.

And then I prayed. For the record, I am not in the business of informing God of stuff He/She/It (yeah, God isn't always He or She for me. Sometimes It. Sometimes not even a noun) should know, nor do I routinely talk as if She/He/It is a giant metaphysical Santa Claus--what Anne Lamott calls the "cosmic butler." Prayer for me is more a reminding myself that I am loved, that we have always been taken care of, and that there is Someone more responsible than me who is actually in control. I felt today like I was sitting in a car, driving and honking and turning my steering wheel, only to find out that I was really more like Maggie Simpson, holding a toy steering wheel that did absolutely nothing to control the car. I had no choice but to let go of my toy and my sense of control. I told the driver that I had confidence in Her/Its/His driving skills, and that I was going to let It/Him/Her figure it out.

Of course, two minutes later, my mom called back to announce that my neighbors had kicked in my back door, breaking the cheesy lever lock we'd been wanting to replace, and mom found D in his room upstairs, peering out the window at the tree guys.

The fact that I even mentioned prayer might sound stupid to most of you, who are thinking that this would have happened whether or not I prayed. You're right. I don't think praying made God like me or my kid any more nor did it induce Her/It/Him to intervene on our behalf. What it did was change me, get my heart out from under the crushing fear I had that Something Terrible would happen. It let me breathe and trust and assume that everyone, and I mean Everyone, as my mother likes to remind me, is doing the best they can, and the more I trust that, the better we all are.

P.S. I nominated my friend Nancy for Crazy Hip Blog Mamas Member of the Week award. And because I hate, hate, hate how last-person-chosen-for-kickball the blogosphere makes me feel most of the time and am mindful that others might feel the same way and am doing everything I can to make it stop feeling that way, let me assure you that there are many others I'm going to be nominating in the future, but I'm starting with her. Read this and this and this, (that last one might make you cry, unless of course, you have a heart made of stone) and then go vote for her, okay? If she doesn't get it this week (because votes have to be in by Sunday), I'll just nag you all next week about it and who wants that?