It’s Monday morning.
Kyeli and I are driving north on I-95. The brown grass gives way to green, the evergreens give way to the colors of autumn. Listening to podcasts, brainstorming our plans for the new year, rocking out to videogame music. North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania whizz by outside the window.
Our hearts are full of confidence, joy, and relief – joy because we’re heading for Beacon, NY where our dear friend Kelly Kingman lives, and relief because we’re exhausted from all our recent traveling, and we’ll be staying put in Beacon for a month. And some extra relief because we’re going where we won’t have to worry about being a tattooed/purple-haired lesbian couple.
We call ahead to reserve a campsite – it’s never been a problem before – but few of the sites near Beacon have running water. The temperature has begun to dip below freezing, and they’re turning off the water to avoid pipes freezing.
What’s that? Pipes freezing? O_o
We read horror stories of the black tank (the tank that holds solid and liquid waste) exploding if it freezes when it’s near capacity.
What’s that? Exploding poop?!? O_O
We ask our RVer friends for help.
Half of them say, “Below-freezing temperatures in an RV? No problem. All you need to do is get some heat tape, some gutter tape, put some incandescent lightbulbs in your plumbing bay (but make sure they don’t catch anything on fire), set up an RV skirt, and twelve other things you don’t know how to do or are too exhausted to even contemplate, and you’re good to go!”
The other half say basically what Chris Dunphy says:
There is a tried and true full-timer trick that is actually pretty simple…
Keep your eye on a thermometer. If it drops below 40 degrees, start driving south until it is back above 40 degrees. If it gets above 95 degrees, start driving north.
With this system, your pipes are guaranteed to be fine.
So, we do what anyone would do in this situation.
What are we going to do? Where are we going to live? How many people are we going to disappoint? When are we going to find time to do all the things we need to do? Is this whole RV lifestyle just a stupid idea? Are we really cut out for this? Where are we going to stay tonight? Why won’t the damned cats stop yowling?
I was supposed to research what we needed to live safely and comfortably in the RV, and I didn’t, so it’s my fault. I should have known better. I should have planned ahead better. Why didn’t someone else tell us this was a stupid idea?
We interrupt this story.
Have you ever felt like this? When you made plans for something you were really looking forward to, and they fell apart?
Have you panicked? Have you blamed yourself, or blamed others, or blamed the Universe for picking on you? Have you felt angry, afraid, and crushingly disappointed?
I certainly have. And I’ve circled around and around, running those emotions for days, weeks, months. So you can imagine my surprise when…
I feel an upwelling of profound gratitude.
WTF? Gratitude?!? How did that get in here?
I look down at my wrist and read my tattoo: “is Love available, even here?”
I take one deep breath, and I feel the answer in my bones.
Love is available, even here.
Even here, when the poop explodes.
Even here, when your plans fall apart.
Even here, when you feel angry, afraid, and crushingly disappointed.
Even here, when you feel bitter at the Universe picking on you.
It’s okay to feel the way you feel. You can feel angry. You can feel afraid. You can feel crushingly disappointed. You can feel bitter. AND you can feel the love.
Gratitude is love, and love is acceptance.
Once we accept the truth of our current reality, we can see clearly. Once we let go of our hopes, our plans, our pride, we can move forward.
Or backward, as the case may be.
It’s Tuesday morning.
Kyeli and I are driving south on I-95. The green grass gives way to brown, the colors of autumn give way to evergreens. Listening to podcasts, grieving the loss of our plans, rocking out to videogame music. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina whizz by outside the window.
We feel sad. We feel disappointed. We’re still grieving.
AND we feel the love.