Christmas week this year brought a surprise for many of us in the small town that I live in. Lots of snow had fallen the week before and saturday night, the rains came. I lay in bed listening to it dance on the rooftop letting it lull me to sleep. I was gently woken out of bed at 1:15am, a messenger telling me to go to the basement and turn the fans off. A bit of water had come into the basement from the day before and I had wanted to get it dry as soon as possible. And dry it was. Contentedly, I unplugged the fans and went back to bed.
Sunday morning I prepared my coffee and set out to ensure all the ingredients for cookie making day with my girlfriend were in order. We chatted on the phone and she an her daughter we all set to come over and carry on the tradition that we had come to love, year after year. You see her daughter was not only adopted from Guatamala by she and her husband, but Ana adopted MY heart when she came home. I wanted to share all the holiday traditions my Mom gave to me and hand them to Ana as my gift to her life.
I scurried around cleaning up a bit before their arrival and made my way to the basement to put something away. As I opened the door, I saw those same fans that I had turned off in the early hours of the morning, floating by me in a foot of water.
I sat at the top of the stairs, looking down and the tears came out of me like a dam that had burst open. This had put me over the edge as oftentimes happens in life when one tries to keep in together for so long. It's that one thing that causes the tiny hole to become wider and before you know it, the release happens!
In true form, I pull myself together, grab my knee high L.L Bean boots (saved for just these occassions, I might add!) and trudge through the water to investigate the damage. I discovered the water was very close to to coming up to the bottom of the furnace! Thankfully, the hot water tank was up higher than the furnace, but I needed to act and quickly.
Four angels, my brother and his friend from the firehall, a friend and his son, arrive at my doorstep not an hour later ready to help. The rains continued to come as the men worked to get the water out and discover the root of the problem. Their jackets were wet, their glasses foggy from the cold of the outside and warmth of the house. Yet they persevered until all the water was out and things were stabilized.
I thanked them all as they walked out the door and promised cookies would be forthcoming. I said a prayer of gratitude as these are men who have continued to help me time and again with anything I need around the house. Sometimes, a simple "thank you" doesn't seem to be enough for all these people do for me.
I made the call to my girlfriend to let her know that cookie day would have to be postponed and I knew that there was a job before me for days, maybe weeks to come.
However, as I methodically went about clearing out the contents of wet cardboard boxes, I watched my life in books over the last ten or more years. Books about infertility and adoption, books about leadership, books about sexuality and spirituality, poetry, Classic Literature, healthy living, gardening and more books.
Over the years books have taught me in school, comforted me in times of sorrow, made me laugh and given me joy. They have schooled me in the ways of improving my self in so many ways, from health and fitness to relationships and of course my favorite and it appears from the volumes of books, how to become a more spiritual being.
It is the loss of precious books, greeting cards from friends, family and lovers throughout the years and wedding pictures that made me shed the tears. You see these precious items so dear to my heart had
survived a fire not seven years ago in my now, beautiful home. Yet, I was losing them to a flood. I am not certain why. The only thing that comes to mind are the consoling words of my dear friend when I called her to postpone cookie day."Kim, perhaps it's time for a part of your life to be cleansed and to start anew." A symbolism of sorts. My dear friend has always seen life from a more spiritual realm and she reminds me always, in times like these that perhaps there is a higher meaning to it all.
And then what did she hand me on day two of cleaning? A Book! Of course, as this is the language she and I speak.
Books, they have always had a special place in my heart and they don every surface of my house. The kitchen table has a new cookbook on it, the side table in my office has a recently finished novel, my nightstand holds several novels read not a few weeks ago and right now my writing desk holds a very special book.
You see this book is a Bible. I found it today amongst the boxes of books that I thought were destroyed by the flood. But yet, this one was not. I was perplexed as I looked at it because I couldn't imagine where I had gotten it from and who gave it to me. My friend was standing next to me as we were diligently trying to sort the books to toss and the books to save. For some reason, I turned the book over to the back and I starred at the handwritting and I knew it immediately.
It was my maternal Grandmothers Bible. She had died many years ago. In this very special book, she wrote the birth of all of her children and her grandchildren. She clipped out the wedding announcements and birth announcements and taped them to the back of her Bible. She even had her parents anniversary announcement and picture. I continued to stare at this book and then I discovered two pages in which she scribed some of her thoughts. I began to read aloud to my friend who stood next to me:
My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me
I cannot choose the colors
He worked steadily.
Oftentimes He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I , the underside
Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
Many years ago, someone told me that I "needed to clean the basement" and that "my Grandmother wanted to speak to me."
Perhaps this is why the flood happened in my basement, time to cleanse, to clear away, release and finally hear my Grandmother.
* A shuttle is a tool designed to neatly and compactly store or a holder that carries the thread across the loom weft yarn while weaving. Shuttles are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed, between the yarn threads of the warp in order to weave in the weft.
The simplest shuttles, known as "stick shuttles", are made from a flat, narrow piece of wood with notches on the ends to hold the weft yarn. More complicated shuttles incorporate bobbins or pirns.