Friday, March 6, 2009

Things I've Learned in 2009

It's only been two months so far, but it's been a very full two months.

I've learned that:

*Real estate contracts are meaningless.

You know the whole, "Once you've signed the contract, there's nothing to worry about!" notion? It's a lie. Sure, there are often contingencies on the contract, and you know there's a chance that one of them could end up doing you in. But what if the seller just up and decides he doesn't want to sell his house after all? After the contract is signed. With no contingencies to allow for such a change of heart?

Well, I thought he just couldn't do that. After all, wasn't that the point of the contract? It made it legal. He had to go through with it, right? Apparently not, from what I was told. You can't MAKE someone sell their house.

Well, I didn't make him put it on the market, I didn't make him agree to an offer, and I didn't make him sign a contract. I am still of the opinion that yes, since all of that was done of his own free will, I could indeed MAKE him sell his house, even if I had to take legal means to do it. But... my opinion means nothing, and I was told too bad, so sad, if the seller wanted to back out, he could.

Fortunately, after an extremely stressful few days in which I believed that I would soon be homeless, the seller changed his mind again and the sale went through as planned. Whew. A lot of prayers went into making that one happen, I can tell you.

*I have entirely too much stuff.

I honestly didn't think I had a lot of stuff. I used to be a hoarder. A collector. I had to keep everything I'd ever owned. And then a few years ago, I met Flylady and I've never been the same. "Do you use it? Do you love it? If not, out it goes." And so I am no longer a hoarder, and my piles of stuff have decreased significantly as a result.

But when I moved, I realized that I still have way too much stuff. The trouble is, everything fit under one of the two categories: either it was something I truly do use, or it was something I truly do love. Books and Laura Ingalls Wilder collectibles are my downfall.

What really overwhelmed me during this move besides, "how full can I pack my car up this trip down?" and "where am I going to PUT all this stuff?" and "will this house EVER be empty so I can LEAVE it?" was the discrepancy. I thought about my Compassion kids. I pictured their houses. I pictured their stuff. And then I looked around my house at the boxes upon boxes of stuff and wondered, why do we need so much? And how do they get by with so little?

It was a sobering thought, and one I haven't finished thinking through.

* When you lose touch with people you like, you never run into them again. But when you lose touch with people you don't, just hold tight. It's guaranteed they'll show up in your life again. And again. And again.

Just think Nellie Oleson. (as in the book character Nellie, not tv show Nellie, and not her real life counterparts... although Genny Masters still fits my example...)

Just imagine Laura's face, when after having left Plum Creek and Nellie Oleson behind forever, who should trounce into her classroom in her new hometown but Nellie herself. Not the Kennedy girls, mind you, whom Laura would surely have been quite pleased to see. Oh no, it had to be Nellie.

I felt like poor Laura must have felt the day I logged into facebook and discovered that my own personal Nellie Oleson had requested to be my friend. I haven't seen this girl in probably fifteen years, and was perfectly happy about that. WHY did she have to show up, and WHY must she add me as a friend on facebook???

I will confess... I left the request sitting there for three days while I thought about it. "Do I HAVE to?? No, I don't HAVE to... I COULD deny it... But then how they'll all talk (the entire Oleson family)... and someday I just know it will come back to haunt me..." Finally I gave in and clicked accept. And I've been sorry ever since.

Oh, it would have done no good to have denied it either. After all, she went and added my entire family, and half my friends too. She's everywhere. Unavoidable. And after fifteen or so years of childhood torture-by-Nellie, followed by fifteen years of adulthood bliss due to absence-of-Nellie -- well, I just don't know what the next fifteen years of Nellie on Facebook is going to hold. I hoped that age would have improved her -- after all, it certainly worked for tv Nellie. Well, it hasn't.

Yes, I know my attitude about this stinks. I'm working on it, okay? Somewhere I have a prayer journal from when I was 13 years old, asking God to help me love Nellie, because I knew it was right to love your enemies. He actually did answer the prayer... though Nellie never changed, my attitude toward her did. At least I thought I did. Obviously upon Nellie's reappearance, it was my initial attitude toward her that resurfaced, not that new and improved one.

So I guess I need to take a lesson from my 13-year-old self who was clearly a better person than my 34-year-old self, and start praying again to love Nellie.


*Don't judge others by their behaviors. You don't know the whole story.

Yeah, yeah, I know I need to apply this to Nellie. And I do. I just still don't like her. Sorry. Working on it.

Okay, back to the topic -- I shared this in a previous blog post, of the girl who hated me (or at least appeared to) many years ago, when in fact an awful lot was going on behind the scenes that I had no idea of that was causing her to do the things she was doing. In what seems like record time, this once-upon-a-time "enemy" has wormed her way right into my "nearest and dearest" circle. When I asked God to quickly send new friends in the area when I moved here, I had in mind NEW friends. As in people I hadn't yet met. I like His idea better. :)

*Prioritize people. Stuff will always be here. Your to-do list will always be here. People... they won't always be here and they're the only things that really matter anyway.

I already knew this, but I had a review lesson last month when my uncle was fine one day... gone the next. Death can come so suddenly and you'll never in this life have another chance to spend time together. So spend it while you can, and when you get bogged down with too much to do, remember: People come first.

*Just because there is a gaping hole in a cardboard box of crackers doesn't mean you have a mouse in your cupboards. It might just mean you have a really bad memory.

'Nough said.

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