Last weekend, I made something out of nothing.
I’ve been waking up singing most mornings recently. In those half-awake half-asleep moments, a song will come to mind, and I will find myself singing a phrase from it over again and again. The Beatles “Let it be” was one of them. Simple enough message there. You don’t have to change the world. Enjoy life. Let it be. Tuesday morning I was blessed with Meatloaf’s “Making love out of nothing at all”. I’m not exactly a Meatloaf fan, but it didn’t take long to figure out why the song was in my head. I am quite proficient at making something out of nothing.
I had a meeting with my landlords on Monday. One of them had been over here a few days earlier doing a bit of mowing in the paddock behind my place. He comes over for a chat; we had a laugh about a few things – and then he says in an almost nervous tone “Umm – we want to make a time to come over and talk to you about a few matters. We are concerned that there are a few things that are not working…”
Well, that hit me like a bombshell. I’m thinking – great, just great. As if I haven’t got enough things on my plate, now my landlords are questioning our relationship. I looked around the place, there was a couple of garden beds that have been neglected, I’ve got a few car parts lying around. I’ve been a couple of days late with rent occasionally. But sheesh, I’m not that bad a tenant. So I spent the weekend oscillating from “I need to clean this place up” (running around mowing lawns, cleaning floors, wiping down cupboards, getting rid of rubbish, etc.), to defiant and self-righteous (stubbornly watching telly and refusing to react), and back to calm and resolute (still watching telly, but with a facial expression a bit more Dalai Lama and a bit less Mike Tyson).
Meanwhile back at the real estate agents… I had called the Rental Manager at the real estate agent on Friday, to see if she has heard anything from the landlords. (I have friendly relationships with the real estate agents and with the landlords). Unbeknown to me, she is only working every second day as part of the coronavirus restrictions. I don’t get onto her, so I leave a message on the office answering machine. I then send her an email directly, asking if she was aware of why the relationship between us wasn’t working, asking her to call me back when she can. One of the office girls hears my message on the answering machine but unfortunately has assumed I am the landlord and not the tenant. So she passes the message on to the Rental Manager that the landlord wants to speak to her. So the Rental Manager has a message to contact me, via email; and another to contact the landlords, via one of the office girls via the answering machine. Naturally enough, she thinks that things have gone really pear-shaped. She tries to call me, but I am in an appointment, so she leaves a note to call her back. I message her back when, to tell her not to stress, it was nearly 7 pm on a Friday, and I am happy to wait.
She spends the weekend wondering who to contact first, dreading making a call to any of us, and worrying about what has happened. So the landlords arrive on Monday, and in the back yard start to chat. Things start off nervously, we speak about how we are coping with the coronavirus, but I am feeling tense and worried about what was to come. Then one says something about getting started, the other brings out a notebook and I am thinking good grief, is this a whole log of claims? Has this relationship soured that far? What things exactly aren’t working? Is it my cleanliness around the house? Have I missed some bills or something?
“So Geoff, we know the shower door doesn’t work. It was like that when you moved in. We are going to fix it for you. Are there any other maintenance issues that you need attended to?”
I have a great relationship with my landlords. I have no logical reason to doubt them. But in a period of reflection and change, we can find ourselves questioning more than we might need to. A simple misunderstanding about the phrase “things are not working” led to me thinking my lease might be terminated.
How often do we blow things out of proportion without reason? How often do we make mountains out of molehills? Alan wrote recently of weeds, and how they are often the first things to pop up when we get a bit of rain. Our minds, when left unattended are fertile ground for noxious thoughts. Like weeds, they soon beget more weeds. And next thing you know, you can’t see the blue sky for all the thistles.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight”. I know, my mind often reflects on the lack of “bad” in my life, and I have great faith that “good” will win the day – yet every now and then I let my earthly misunderstandings win over my brain and my heart. I guess I will learn some day…
On a positive note – I have had a very pleasant afternoon tea with my landlords, had a good laugh about the misunderstanding with my real estate agent, my garden has been tidied up, the kitchen is clean and I am getting a new shower screen. Life is grand after all. Have a great day everyone!
SONG: Amazing Grace by Dami Im – https://vimeo.com/showcase/7007425/video/404857865