I've spent the last two evenings watching the news about the West Coast fires and talking with California relatives, all of whom are safe, thank goodness. As much as my heart aches for so many people who have lost everything, my spirits have been lifted by the strength, determination and acceptance displayed by those I've seen interviewed. There was sadness, for sure, but I didn't see even one person who appeared to feel defeated. I'd like to believe I could show that kind of grace and dignity under such circumstances, but I'm not so sure I could. God bless 'em.
The reason I'm having doubts about my own strength of character is that I've been reflecting on my overreaction to a situation that occurs in my life almost every morning, one that changes my mood from good to bad in a matter of seconds. I am attacked on a daily basis, and I respond each and every time with anger and curses, despite the fact that I'm entirely alone when the attacks occur. I need to get a grip on it.
I step into the shower each morning feeling relatively calm, then I turn the water on, and before I'm even wet all over, the plastic shower curtain liner has become this massive, moving, suffocating beast that wants to swallow me whole -- or at least to get close enough to know me in a Biblical sense -- and I find myself struggling to stand upright. While I'm washing my left leg, the shower curtain wraps itself around my right one. While I'm shampooing my hair, the curtain drapes itself against my shoulders, clinging, copping feels like a movie version of a creepy drunk. I feel as if I'm about to be drowned -- or maybe shrink-wrapped.
And so I fight. And I swear. And I fight some more, until I can call myself clean, then I turn off the water to tame the monster and escape, exhausted. Oddly, by the time my hair is dry, the anger is gone and I forget about it.
The next morning when the alarm goes off, I stumble through the house to let the dogs out, get that first and most important Diet Coke and some toast or cereal, turn on the "Today Show." Everything in my world seems lovely as I sit quietly and have breakfast, but slowly, inevitably, the brain-fog lifts, and I'm ready to take a shower. It's time to do battle again.
There is neither grace nor dignity in the way I handle this daily dose of adversity, but at least I'm aware of it. I'll try to do better tomorrow.