Liz rushed into Starbucks, out of breath. “Sorry I’m late. I’ve been at home cleaning up and totally lost track of time. That weekend storm was a monster!”
She was right. A huge storm with 45 mile an hour sustained winds had brought pouring rains to the Puget Sound. The storm drains on Liz and Ryan’s street were overwhelmed, and the rain ran down their sloping driveway straight into the garage.
I sympathized with her plight. I shook my head imagining the effort required to clear out their gardening tools and holiday decorations. It was much worse than I originally thought – their garage was actually filled to the brim.
“Within months of moving closer to my parents, my Dad downsized to a townhome and my Mom went to group living due to Alzheimer’s. We’ve been so busy with them that we only unpacked the necessities for our house. In no time our garage became the family storage unit. We thought we would deal with it all “someday”. It became such a huge job that it was easier to just let it sit there.”
Her face became grim and she looked away. “Who am I kidding? The boxes were only part of it. We didn’t want to deal with my Mom’s illness. We weren’t keeping things “for now”; we knew she would never need them again.”
Liz took a deep breath and pulled herself together. “The flood changed all that. We salvaged what we could, and a junk service is coming tomorrow to pick up everything else. At first I felt bad about mementos that were ruined, but my Dad has never asked for anything that was packed away. Ryan and I had never opened up our boxes, either.”
I could tell what a burden it had been. “You must be drained – it must have taken so much work!”
Liz smiled brightly. “I won’t lie to you – I was shell-shocked when we woke up to 6” of water. The only option was to empty out the garage. I was dreading it. As it cleared out, I actually gained energy. Fifteen boxes later, I’m a brand new woman! “
In the October series, Compounding Good, we’re looking at ways to invite Good into your life in the face of adversity. Viktor Frankl once said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” This is what happened for Liz.
Liz and Ryan felt guilty about a jammed garage, but their priorities had been in order all along. Relationships were at the top of their list, not the family china set. For them, compounding Good meant spending time with their family.
A key Soul Boss principle is to be flexible, deftly moving through change. Take Liz as your inspiration this week. Your storm may leave some debris in its path, but it might also make your priorities crystal clear. Give up trying to change the weather, and change your mind instead.