I rented a cabin for the month of August in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just me and my dog. I’m going into the most busy season of my adult life in the next few months so I thought I’d get away and edit the new book, finish some business curriculum and write for my life.
The place I rented has a pond, which is perfect for me. My dog Lucy loves to swim and a significant part of my writing routine involves taking breaks along the edge of a river, throwing a tennis ball and waiting for the next paragraph to come to me. Normally, this means an hour or two break in the middle of the day, loading the dog in the car and heading to a river. So this place was perfect. I could literally throw a ball off the front deck and into the water. I’d gain an hour of writing per day not having to drive.
I was told the pond had sat there for twenty years, crystal clear, great for fishing and swimming. But a week before I came a flood washed out the drain. I arrived to find an empty crater of mud. It was too late to find a different cabin. My deadlines meant I couldn’t spend any time searching. So, I settled in.
For two weeks I watched the mud hole. I realize it’s silly to complain about something so dumb, but the truth is I cursed my fate. Twenty years? And the week before I came it empties out? It was enough to make me play the victim. And I did, to some degree.
But after a while playing the victim just gets toxic. So I sat there looking at the mud crater, trying to figure out how it was actually a blessing. Here is what I came up with:
1. While it may not be a blessing to me, I’m a blessing to the very kind man who rented me the place. He’s getting a month’s rent when a family of five could easily have rented the place and had a ruined vacation. So there’s that.
2. The empty pond created a longing that, once fulfilled will serve me well. They came and fixed the pond and it will take two weeks to fill. But at the end of the two weeks, when I’ve only one or two days left in the cabin, I’ll be able to swim in that pond. That may be the most wonderful swim ever, simply because I waited so long and watched the thing fill up.
3. There’s something about being uncomfortable that makes me work harder. I don’t know what it is, but I could never write in a truly nice place. I’d want to play golf or swim or go on hikes. Because this place felt more like a construction site than a cabin in the woods, I got to work. And I’ve been incredibly productive.
Did this perspective cure my victim mindset? Well, mostly. I still pout, occasionally. But in the end it’s a mixed bag. I’m getting a lot of work done. I’m blessing somebody else. I’m surfing that sense of longing and it’s working out.
Beats getting depressed, that’s for sure.
Curious about what unfortunate situation you’re dealing with that could be similarly redeemed?