Try as I might, I cannot purge my prose of misspellings and mis-typings. Just read that last entry, and there they were again. Fastidious is not my middle name, but do I have to seem so slovenly?
Tough day today. Remember the leak I fixed. Wrong. When I came downstairs the radiator had been incontinent again. Went into the cellar and discovered the furnace had filled itself again. So I drained some, mopped some, and went off to the gym extra early because of an early meeting.
Got home, and lo the radiator had done it again. Wife frustrated. Me frustrated. Me late. Made phone call to repairman who will come by later this morning. I shower and tear out.
Meeting cancelled. Three months ago. Never purged from Outlook, my electronic memory. Steam now rose from my head and came from my ears. Slowly crawled down from my hissy fit of self anger. Tried to use the time well, and mostly succeeded.
Got email from wife that the repairman had diagnosed the issue and shown my helpmeet how to keep its bladder from spilling. It involves valves and tubes and other plumberish gizmos. How I hate my inadequacy with matters ‘male.’ I understand it well enough when told, but lack a fundamental curiosity to keep it handy. Now ask me about zouaves and I am your guy. Somehow it came up in conversation at work, or rather I mentioned it.
Look it up. I am too embarrassed to explain.
Tuesday and Wednesday are packed with meetings. I used to scatter them through the week, but found they chopped up the work day, so I decided to concentrate them. It works, but the price is sometimes high. Add anything to the mix, and the whole thing splits and seam.
Well, without getting into details, I took delivery on some of the inevitable criticism this work produces. But because of the day, instead taking it in stride and otherwise be a grownup, I let it get me down. This is really easy for me, as you have probably figured out.
No question that the greatest adversary any of us face is ourselves. No question also that I came here to face that fellow down. The challenge is dealing with the truth in criticism without feeling defensive or defeated. The adversary in me loves to surrender, thinking that others must be right and thus I must be wrong. Behind that, though, lies the reason for thinking that way. While I am more aware of that shadow than I was years ago, there are still shadowy elements there. This, the still hidden elements of our shadow selves, is what we struggle with.
From a distance (thank you Bette Midler) it is a good and honorable struggle. Up close, it is hard and daunting. If it were not it would be a true struggle. So I try to take my fear and doubt as signs that means this effort really does matter. And that too is part of the struggle.
Know what the Arabic word for struggle is? Jihad. And in Islam, the inner struggle is the true one. The outer is the lesser, and even deceptive one. No one ever said a spiritual life was a walk in the garden, but does it so often have to be a hike through the wilderness?
I guess so.