I will not be quick to forget yanking off the wood under the kitchen cabinets to use as levers for manoeuvring a washing machine into place. Nor will I forget cautiously tip-toeing downstairs in a get-up reminiscent of ‘chimney sweep’, courtesy of opening a cupboard which unleashed a shower of black dust.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of moving into a new house and getting better acquainted with polyfilla, plastering and pre-payment meters.
In the midst of the chaos and boxes and lists and general dishevelment, I have been immensely grateful for also being caught up in a swirl of kindness. People from church have between them loaned a fridge, done tip-runs, helped strip wallpaper, cooked us dinner, moved a sofa and chairs, gifted a bookcase, dining room table, dresser, TV and stand, and sourced and installed a new oven. Friends have piled in and deposited plants in the garden, cards on the shelves, judgements upon distasteful lampshades, and, on occasion, established strong penchants for (the previously-appropriately-named) “Mould Corner”.
I’ve struggled this year with feeling out of control. I’ve been generally very fortunate in experiencing strong correlations between cause and effect, and finding the process of decision-making uncomplicated and straightforward. This year, rather than charting a course, I feel like I’ve been swimming against the tide or, at points, I’ve been swept along by currents. In many ways I’m very grateful for the place that I’ve been carried to now, but feeling detached from the process that has carried me here has left me feeling unmoored, and keen to touch my feet back onto the floor.
The dust kicked up by chaos is settled by kindness. I don’t know that there will ever be anything better than a dozen people’s simple offerings of unprompted prayer. Such kindness is gently soothing the parts of me still recovering from confusion.
Yesterday we held a house-warming. One of the neighbours left only to return a short moment later to wave to us through the window and draw our attention to their huge fluffball-of-a-dog Rubeus. This swiftly brought an end to a gleeful S Club 7 sing-a-long, which was exchanged for an equally gleeful mass-exodus to pet the dog.
All this is to say that some of the dust feels like it might be about to settle. I am grateful for a new beginning, for laughter prompted by paint mishaps and the exploits of redecorating, and for small and large human kindnesses.