There’s an old Jewish saying- IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING.
(The English version is more like ‘if it’s not one thing, it’s another.’)
I remember the hot water heater bursting many years ago when I lived in a rented apartment. I was supposed to fly to New York for a funeral the next day, and the landlord was too busy to deal with it right then. I remember thinking that I’m glad it didn’t happen when I was away and the damage from the water would have been substantial. But then, it would have been better if it didn’t happen, period.
And then I thought of this^ saying.
I thought of it again when a writer friend, now jobless (she did have a day-job, as most do) and newly out of unemployment benefits, had her water heater burst. Now what.
I thought about it last summer when the third of our semi-antique vehicles became dysfunctional, just as my kid needed to be taken to the doctor. We had three non-working cars and one sick kid. What next.
I thought of it when my editor (an otherwise fantastic professional to work with) had a new brainstorm, which required a whole re-write, only days after an Email telling me we are good to go and heading to line-editing. Tell me about it.
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING.
But then I thought- what’s the alternative? NOTHING.
This is not to disparage those calm periods where everything is ticking along smoothly. Those halcyon days gliding on gently, where the silent pulse of time ticks without murmur. Those are the breaks, allowing batteries to re-charge.
To be honest, I am barely alive during the calm. If I am, I must confess I don’t remember it well. In life, like in stories, it’s the punctuation, the breaks, the cracks and the explosions that make the stories. There has to be SOMETHING.
Ah, blessed Something.
And as I’m counting, I wish blessings to come in gingerly. Unlike fiction, where the ‘one-two-three-CLIMAX’ is a convention of story telling, I wish the Somethings will space themselves. More like a fender-bender, not a pile-up on the highway. In my less Zen moments, I wish for more Nothing and less Something.
I wish you plenty of Nothing, bits of Something, and a good working car.