Last night Troy said to me, "You have to resign from that because of all the extra stuff you're doing for me, isn't that it?" He looked at me like he knew it was all his fault.
"No," I corrected him. "I GET to resign because of you. This is yet another thing that I've gained this summer because I invited you into my house."
He obviously didn't believe me. So I started to explain.
Good Things That Have Happened Since I Invited Troy and his Son to Live With Us:
1. My house is really clean. And when it starts to slip, I notice and clean it up.
2. Like I said in the last post, my bathroom and shower doors are clean.
3. Because of several points below, cooking for 7 is turning out to be cheaper than cooking for 5 was.
4. I am paying closer attention to my relationship with Jake so that I don't get lost in what I'm doing with everything I'm doing--and it's been really good.
5. I talk about my faith life and Benedictine values and hospitality in a way I never have.
6. I've made friends with Dawn next door
7. Our relationship with Travis and Zelda is stronger than ever
8. Jan in Oregon is being so so good to me as I tell her of my day, almost every night the past month via Facebook or email
9. I hear the Gospel differently on Sundays.
10. I wake up early. Really early. Really, really ridiculously early. And so I haven't slept the summer away.
11. My in-laws gave us a cooler full of free protein (fish, deer, duck) to help out with feeding folks
12. My CSA yesterday, when I casually mentioned the story of my household, gave me all their leftover green beans, some meat they couldn't sell because the packaging was wrong or the seal had broken (but it was perfectly fine), "seconds" on tomatoes, last week's eggplant, and a paper lunchbag full of green onion bulbs. They wanted to give me more. They told me to come back next week and they would set things aside.
13. My friend Ann has furniture for when he moves into his apartment. And she's let me monologue on her couch with a cup of coffee every Wednesday morning.
14. So many folks I've talked to have opened up with their own stories of homelessness or near-homelessness, or when their brother was or a friend of their son, etc.
15. It's gotten me out of a lot of tutoring--which I would have had to do come the school year anyway, except for some kids of friends--but I was able to shed several annoying families with a bullet-proof excuse.
16. I am no longer the scoutmaster for the independent scout group we started up last fall. I support their cause. I like them in theory. But there were some hard personalities and neither of my girls were interested in continuing. It was like the mob, though, I thought I was out and they kept pulling me back in. But bullet-proof, whine-proof, bribe-proof reason appeared in their email two nights ago. And they all pretty much said, "I can't argue with you. I totally understand." They don't, but at least they won't continue to try to persuade.
17. It made me and my brother have a hard conversation that it was time to have. Time to have like 3 years ago. But we had it. And it was really good.
18. It's made me really honest with the people I love, in good ways.
19. It's made me come to terms with some of my own demons, weaknesses, and unfinished business.
20. When people say, "I'm going to pray for you" I tell them thank you. When people ask if they can make us a meal or help with Daisy or Fiona to get them out of the house (and the crazy) for a minute, I say thank you, yes, please. I am helping someone but I need a lot of help and people are coming through for me without my having to ask.
21. My guest room, except for his laundry on the floor and receipts on the table, has never ever ever been this clean, and it makes me want to maintain it this way after he's gone.
22. It's made me live a day at a time. There is always a new crisis or event. There is often a really good conversation. There is good food and hope and despair that proves itself wrong and I catch myself in this ridiculous risky thing I'm doing and I can't believe it and wonder how it will end but know that all I need to do today is defrost some meat from the freezer, blanch some green beans, wash a load of towels, vacuum, and wait for my family--all of the people under my roof--to come home so I can learn what is next. I don't need to know where this is all going. All I have to do is respond to today and make a loose sketch for what is coming tomorrow. And I'm learning that God will mess around with those details and I just need to breathe and love my kids and listen, listen, listen.
Attune the ear of your heart, says St. Benedict. Listen, my child. St. Benedict pray for us; St. Meinrad, martyr of hospitality, pray for us. Sts. Mary and Martha, pray for us.