Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Paradise Lost, Pilgrim's Progress Found: coworkers in arms

It's a good feeling to develop relationships that return good things to you when you need it - though not necessarily when you expect it.

It's been a rough week.

We lost paradise. Actually, we said no to paradise. Or, as one family member put it, "why is there always a snake in the Garden of Eden?"

The cottage in the country is going the way of eight-tracks and Atari. Which in some ways is good. Eight tracks were never that practical, and this wouldn't have been, either. But oh, how I shall miss the stone fences and gurgling creek. This is what happened: the woman who owns the property has never been a landlord. That's the basic information you need to know. The fact that she doesn't return calls or e-mails, we could have lived with. The fact that she has three jobs and squeezed this in, we could have lived with. The fact that she'd never written a lease and drafted something more brutal than Mein Kampf worried us. The fact that she contradicted what had been communicated in prior emails worried us. The fact that she couldn't remember prior communications really worried us.

We were worried. Have I mentioned that? But what of the nodding daffodils, the stray cows, the belligerent mooing, the dew-laden blades of grass?

Perhaps later in life. We were heartbroken. But we were also living out of suitcases for a month because the valuable antique furniture still hadn't been moved out of the house. Having been married only a whopping three months (happy anniversary to us), living like nomads for a full third of that has been stressful.

We looked up new rental opportunities: landlords, calls, pet policies (two dogs, thank you very much), facing the frustration that renting is a necessary evil that we hope to put past us at some point. We found a duplex that allows dogs. Two bedrooms. No stone fences. But no antique furniture in the living room, either. And a landlord who embodies Andy Griffith and has been doing this as long as I've been alive.

Paradise Lost seems to be part of Pilgrim's Progress. We are Pilgrim, laboring in our journey. But we look forward to our journey always ending at the same place every day: home. A shadow of eternal home.

We hope that those of you who have expressed interest in visiting will still do so: we managed to extricate ourselves from what would've been a Bad Situation with enough grace that we have been able to preserve a good relationship with the Farm Folk - and I'm not sure that would've been possible had we stayed.

But where has help come from? Not the hills, but the Lord. And how has the Lord (who made heaven, earth, the creek, and the dogs) helped? Through an unexpected source: not via home, but via the workplace.

I have coworkers in arms.

One offered to help with the move. Another, upon seeing my weary face, promptly loaded me up in a mini Cooper and took me to Starbucks, the equivelent of sticking a bottle in a wailing baby's mouth. (Their new Pike's Place blend is quite good! No over-roasted.) Others regularly inquire on the progress of the situation. My boss has, as ever, lent generous flexibility to late arrivals and early departures (did I mention my car broke down this week, while the mechanic is uncharacteristically busy?)

Pilgrims we are. But we don't travel alone.


Carrie said...

Sigh. So is it better that you've had a taste of Paradise, or was a taste of Paradise worse than no Paradise at all?

It was idyllic while it lasted. Life goes on. We can still get together this summer--island in the stream, or not!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Can we still hear poop stories? They are the best.

Anonymous said...

First, I'm sorry. Second, my father is disugusting...poop is NOT the best. And Third, been there with the dogs and trying to find somewhere to live that accepts pets. Wish we were closer to help you all out! Good luck and see you in a couple weeks! ;-)

Bob said...

sent you an email...daddy

Elizabeth Glass-Turner said...

Re: is a taste of paradise better than not having it at all?

I've actually thought a lot about it. I decided a taste is better than none at all, because A) it makes your desires concrete and reinforces what you really love, and B) it pushes you forward towards goals you might not have reached for. Also C) it stretches your imagination, and D) it reflects that paradise is the ultimate true reality, even if we don't experience it fully in the present. And E), I do believe that it's always better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Alright, that's enough letters.