Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away . . .

Just want to let you all know that my computer was attacked by a nasty virus. I thought I had a strong virus protection program, but apparently it disappeared. So, bereft of protection, I got hit. That's why I haven't been blogging lately. Today, I'm writing this on my husband's new-ish computer. Yep, his computer was a goner too and he was out a computer for a couple of weeks. A new friend then generously donated a computer to him, one not new, but nevertheless a nice machine.

What a winter. Car Crash, car's a goner. We were down to just my brother's van. Then it had mechanical problems and was stuck over at someone's house for nearly a week. We finally found a friend to get the van working again, but today the roads are very icy and naturally we got it stuck on the ice (on a hill). Jeez!

I'm learning strongly this winter to do without. For two weeks around Christmas time, a pipe in our building sprung a leak and we had to turn the water off to an apartment upstairs from us, our bathroom, and my brother's room downstairs. So we went without functioning (easily flushed) toilets for two weeks. We hauled water from our kitchen sink in a five gallon bucket to manually flush the toilet. And I was glad we could do that! No running water at all would have been a REAL pain. As it was, it was tiresome and inconvenient, but we could do it. We gritted our teeth and did it.

Items, customs we're used to, convenience, all these things I'm learning that I can do without. The trick is how to remain relatively cheerful and non-complaining while doing without. Grumbling or getting angry does not help the problem; it makes it much worse. It is worse because with a complaining attitude, you focus on the problem so much more than if you simply accepted it and went about your business. I've learned to give thanks to the Lord for all of our blessings. And one of those blessings is learning ahead of time how to do without. If you can learn this trick of ACCEPTANCE IS CONTENTMENT before the coming collapse, crash, or depression, then you will adjust to your situation much better.

Daniel Wright, the man who founded the valley community we live in, had Acceptance is Contentment carved into the mantel over his hand-built fireplace. I've learned the wisdom of that statement this winter. No car? We'll work around it. Broke-down car? Ditto. No flushable toilets (without hauling water)? We've got a five-gallon bucket and running water elsewhere. No sweat. AND I was grateful that I didn't have to haul that water out of the pond!! Items getting lost or disappearing? Make something else do what that item did. No sour cream for a recipe? Make some by adding vinegar to cream, or as I did, to ricotta cheese. It won't be quite the same, but it will do.

In his wise and witty blog, Dimitri Orlov suggests that Americans should learn this semi-detached attitude in order to deal with the slow collapse of their standard of living, and indeed, the collapse of their country and the world as we all knew it. The "American Dream" is gradually turning into the American Nightmare. Rather than a rude and panicky awakening to this reality, learn to deal with it now, slightly ahead of everyone else. If you can let go of stuff, of convenience, of your expectations of what life should be, then you will be much happier and better adjusted to whatever our new reality will be. Most of all, make the effort to enhance your attitude. Accept what IS, and learn to be content with it. Cheerfully.

Why? I'll tell you: it is simply a helluva lot less stressful. Major unaddressed stress can and will make you sick and even kill you. Over time, if not quickly. Adjust your attitude, adjust your expectations, learn to do without and still be cheerful, if not happy. You will not only live longer and better, your companions will love you for it. All of us prefer being with positive folks and we tend to avoid negative complainers and other unpleasantness.

OK, enough sermonizing for today. I will blog when I can, so please stay tuned. And I'll try lots of home remedies to help my computer get over the virus. :)


Anonymous said...

I like this. "Learning ahead of time how to do without" and "Acceptance is contentment" are two lessons I'm learning right now, as I'm going through a divorce I don't want and have to try to figure out how to raise four kids as a single mom...tough lessons ahead--for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peregrin: When I first read "Acceptance is Contentment" on Daniel's mantle, I fell in love with the proverb. It makes a world of sense to me. Good luck with what you're going through, and may God bless,