A sudden storm blew through Eastwood a few weeks ago. I had been in the bathroom and came out to sudden darkness outside on a previously sunny afternoon. Out of nowhere rain came gushing down without warning, the wind and lightning soon joined. I had a sudden uneasy feeling as the pressure in my house changed, uneasy enough to send me into my dark, damp, creepy basement, barefoot. I waited there for a few minutes, the power flashed off then soon back on. I heard loud wind and banging on the door halfway down the basement stairs. As the sounds and pressure settled I made my way back up to the dining room, where a window overlooks the deck and yard. The rain was still pouring, obstructing my view.
As it slowly settled, my eyes struggled to take in what I was looking at. Like nothing I had ever seen before, my lawn was suddenly a fenced in pile of leaves, six feet high, the entire depth of the yard. As the rain slowed to an eerie drizzle I ventured outside to assess the damage. Trees from all three sides, all previously sturdy on neighboring properties outside of my fence had broken off and fallen, through the fence and into my yard, a tangled web of hundreds of branches, some small, some bigger around than me.
This mess occurred a mere 24 hours after I accepted an offer on my house, it felt cruel that the heavens would swoop in on my relief and cause such a mess. I have spent hours on the phone with the insurance company, consulted multiple estimates for clean-up and fence repair. I am still waiting on a final answer on what will be covered and what it will cost. In addition, because the house was already in contract I have to restore the fence and yard to the original state, regardless of what the insurance company wants to pay. The fence is three years old! I kept thinking “how could this be happening to me?”
In the days that followed I took frequent trips to my back yard and stood in wonder at the mess and at the bizarre circumstance that somehow brought trees from three directions down into the same spot. They had all fallen to the same place.
I feel like when things fall we expect them to go in different directions, one tree in my yard, one in yours, one in the yard to the left. It seems normal, natural for things to go that way. But every once in a while a microburst comes along and everything falls at once, to the same spot, at the same time. In a whirlwind of pressure and force, and you’re left wondering how after all of the waiting, a sudden storm put everything where it needed to be, all at once.
It happened to my trees two weeks ago, it happened to me this week.
For weeks I have been filled with anxiety trying to juggle a future of changing plans, all of them in the air, all waiting for little details of timing or other uncontrollable variables, waiting for them to fall in to place. Each time I felt a step forward for progress something came up and swept itself in the way. First there was the disappointment in the reality of how challenging selling my house would be, then little interest in it, a possible renter that would have been at a financial loss for me over the year. Finally an offer came in. But as that happened the previously encouraging number of travel postings for NYC dwindled to one and then to none. I checked daily, hoping for something, anything. Next was a home inspection, which being an old house unveiled concerns for my buyers with the risk of losing the sale, as we negotiated over the last few days my anxiety peaked, afraid I would be starting over.
The funny thing about this whole experience is that it has taught me, yet again, what I have been trying to master for months now. I worked furiously to control the outcome, to make everything fit together. I was exhausted trying to understand how to coordinate all of the multiple working misfit pieces into a concise and time sensitive plan. How would I coordinate selling my house with leaving my job, with moving, with starting a new job? Where would that job be? When would it start? I found myself over and over feeling overwhelmed by my efforts to make it all work.
And then it happened, my “aha” moment. You can refer back to almost any of my previous posts, specifically Fear, Be Still, or Control. I have been struggling with these issues for my whole life, and openly since the beginning of this blog. Yet here I was, doing the same exact thing, gripping my control like a curious dog on a leash, keeping every variable too close to sniff out its surroundings, using my control as comfort, and choking the poor dog in the process. I was doing exactly what I have learned not to do, and I was screwing everything up in the process
The moment I consciously let go and stepped back it all happened. I suddenly realized that it was all more than I could control on my own. There was no way I could master this plan so I finally stopped trying. I emotionally let go of my timeline. I stepped back and started to enjoy where I was, in this moment. I stopped my rush to leave my job here and started to enjoy it, focusing instead on the amazing people I have the opportunity to call coworkers. I stopped trying to run away from my house and considered putting new flowers in the front flower beds. I opened my eyes and took in the beauty of Central New York in the spring.
Then as I drove to Boston in a rain storm last Friday my phone rang with an offer for a travel position at Columbia Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. It is a day position. It starts July 8th! The offer was pending a few tests I would need to complete and pass. I had 48 hours to do so, then the job would be mine.
Next the word came in that the buyer agreed to a payment at closing to cover a few simple improvements. An amount I can easily give them, especially for the peace of mind that my home will be sold.
I dreaded telling my boss that I was leaving, especially given the rapid timeline of my departure. Yet, even that went better than I ever could have hoped.
So here I am, standing in a microburst, as all of the trees fall in on me. I got a 96% on my required test, my contract is signed, my house has a sold sign out front, and I am packing. I am off on a new adventure, one where I will quickly forget again to let go, and be still, and not worry. But at least this time, I will be fresh on the heels of another experience of everything falling into place, all at once, when I finally let go.