Reaction or response?

Dear Friends,

A rather hazy Sunday greets me this morning. I know the sun is there, veiled behind clouds that elicit in me a desire to stay under the covers. Alas, my Sunday morning practice of writing and my powerful desire for coffee (from Atenas, of course) prompt me to the computer and the kitchen. In the absence of my husband, who spoils me on Sundays (and every day), I rely and am grateful for the automatic brewer that has the coffee ready when I arrive in the kitchen. It’s not quite the same as having it brought to me, but it will do for today! Regardless of the weather, I encourage us all to get out and move around a little, for fun and for health.

The past several weeks have found us dealing with a fair amount of routine and emergency situations. The electrical storms damaged the electric gate at our entrance; the timer for the pool pump; a television; and our refrigerator. The mud streaks on our floors are evidence of the rainy season which provides us with sustained employment. We creatively look for ways to minimize the area covered by our pets’ wet paws by arranging mats and towels at the door. It is not very attractive but proves an effective, if not perfect, solution.

We have been very fortunate. Our gate was repaired quickly; the timer has been replaced; and fixing or replacing the television is not crucial. The refrigerator, however, is of utmost importance in any household and taking care of that item became my number one priority this week. I called a trusted technician and he said he would visit on Tuesday to see what was wrong. I cleared my agenda for the day and waited, hour after interminable hour. By 3 p.m., when he hadn’t shown up, I gave up and listlessly embarked on clearing my office of papers and books in (late) preparation for our daughter’s fall semester which has just begun. I felt extremely disappointed.

Our daughter appeared minutes later to inform me that the technician had just called and left a message. I ran to the machine and heard him say casually: “I guess you’re not home, so call me when you get this message and we can set up another appointment.” I widened my eyes in disbelief, tears of frustration threatening to form in them. I almost accused my daughter of not caring about me since she didn’t run for the phone, knowing I was waiting for him. I became so upset I felt like screaming or throwing something and I admitted as much to my daughter, whose face registered bewilderment at the violence of my reaction. Suddenly, her expression made a dent in my brain, freezing me. I took a deep breath and asked myself silently: “How are you really going to respond to this frustration?”

I won’t bore you with the details but the technician did come that Tuesday. The refrigerator is still not working. I have been patiently responding and not reacting to the irritations that come up on a daily basis and challenge me. I have begun to view these setbacks as gum under my shoes, not cement blocks on my feet. I think it helps me put things in perspective, don’t you agree?

Have a great day and a wonderful, fun-filled week.

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