Anything worth doing is worth doing well. You’ve heard that, nodded your head probably, but that is only half the story. The rest of the story is: Anything worth doing is going to take you down a road riddled with obstacles. I remember the exact moment this truth came to me. I was scanning my watch nervously as the service station guy tried to restart my car. In an unfamiliar, heavy traffic area, my car was behaving like a horse ready to pitch me from the saddle. Why did I, with a phobia about getting lost, make this journey? Jury duty, one month of Federal Court jury duty. I could drive in my county, but this wasn’t even my county. The car was repaired and I made it in time and made it successive days while I served on a case, but it was white knuckles all the way.
So I sat in a greasy bay thinking to myself that I was performing a very important service and a lot of people were counting on me. I was doing something worthwhile. So why didn’t the heavens open up and make the commute like a skip down the Yellow Brick Road? Because anything worth doing will take you down a road riddled with obstacles. Maybe we could call it Anhinga’s Law. That poor bird knows fishing for food is worthwhile – or else he would starve. His long pointed beak is built for the job; his strong wings are made for the recognizance flight. Living and eating should be a piece of cake, but it’s not. No. He has a built in obstacle – those feathers are missing the usual water bird oils to keep them dry. Does he stop diving for fish? No, he faces the obstacle. He dives, eats, then stands on the nearest object and holds those ill-designed, feathered wings out to the sun until they dry. But you see, he doesn’t give up. He knows his goal is worthwhile and obstacles are to be expected, and he soldiers on. “Anhinga’s Law” sounds about right.
All this is leading up to another day I had recently that was overtaken by Anhinga’s Law. I needed to go out for supplies. Though my husband was recuperating from pneumonia, he could be left a little while as long as the oxygen concentrator was working. But then the lights flashed on and off a couple of times, finally settling on off. So we grabbed a portable oxygen tank. It was partially full and there was only one more in the house. Delivery was the following day. If the power were off too long, I could probably start the generator myself, though I had never done it alone. Hurricane season was ending that day, but turbulent weather had been reported in Central Florida just before power went out. Not to worry. Our weather radio had battery backup. I checked it to be sure –dead as a doornail. I dug out the last of the AA batteries. The weather radio lit up and immediately began broadcasting a tornado watch for our county.
So I searched for the one old, old phone that plugs directly into the wall without help of electricity. The power company said electricity was estimated to be back on in one and a half hours, but that was only an estimate. We have had it go off for days, but we gave them a chance before going to Plan B, whatever that was. In a little less than two hours the lights flickered on and off, finally sticking with ON.
The lesson of this episode spoke to me clearly. Certainly I was doing something worthwhile, so predictably, the obstacles came right and left. When you think about it, it all makes sense in a fatalistic kind of way, doesn’t it? J