Diamonds In The Dirt

Last Tuesday really was, for me, ‘one of those days’. On the previous weekend, I had advertised an outboard motor for sale and when a fellow came to check it out, it did what outboards do …. and refused to start or even to cough. The ‘buyer’ could see though, that the appearance of the motor suggests that its in good nick, so he assured me that he’d buy it next weekend, so long as I could get it to run and provide a reasonable demo. I spent quite a bit of Monday, trying unsuccessfully to find the problem and had made no progress at all by Monday night. On Tuesday, I was chased from sleep at four in the morning by my personal demons. And Tuesday dawned hot and windy ….. that weather combination that always fills me with dread because, where I live, the fire danger can be extreme and the possibility of losing one’s home is very real.

It was too hot and uncomfortable to work outside so I set about the task of refurbishing an old computer of mine. Its ancient by today’s standards but it is like an old friend or a comfortable pair of slippers. Its set up just the way I want and it has always been very reliable. So I thought I’d treat it to an upgrade … a new, faster processor and some extra memory. At least the task would help to keep my mind off the roaring northerly that was buffeting the house.

I wasn’t far into the job when the power went out. Its amazing how disconcerting that can be, especially when the weather is extreme. I can’t help wondering at the cause and whether a fire somewhere is involved.  Fire is never far from my thoughts during our Tassie summers.

There wasn’t much else to do around the house and Jan had some mail to post so I decided to take a spin into nearby Oatlands while we waited for the power to come back. And while I waited for her to do a little shopping in the local supermarket, a chap backed into my car and left a large dent in an impossible-to-fix, double panelled section of my vehicle. I saw him coming, saw what was about to happen and hit the horn but he just kept backing up until the inevitable crunch.

You need to understand that my motor car is old and its looking a bit poorly nowadays. So you might think that another dent added to the flaking paint and scratched bodywork is no big deal. But the fact is, it IS my car and I DO try to look after it. But this dent is probably worth more to fix professionally, than the current value of my vehicle.

By the time we arrived back home, the power was back on. And my dear old computer was sitting on the table, ominously humming away. Now when I left home it was off and it never did occur to me that maybe I should unplug it from the mains. It was on but ‘frozen’ so I rebooted it and resumed my fiddling. And then things began to go weirdly wrong with my computer. Drives wouldn’t read, files became corrupted and, the more I messed with it, the worse it got …….. until it suddenly died. The power supply had apparently failed. I can’t prove that a surge of power zapping down the mains when it came back on was to blame. But in my mind, I don’t have any doubt.

And while I was agonising over the misfortunes of the day, the wind swung around to the South West and the sky was suddenly filled with smoke. At that moment, I really did feel like life had my number and that it was only a matter of time before my little farm was swallowed up in a raging inferno. I do try hard to keep a lid on my emotions ….. but by Tueday evening, I really was feeling a bit besieged.

Wednesday did arrive though. We weren’t burnt out. The smoke was apparently from a blaze that was far away. And Wednesday was cooler. I found another power supply to attach temporarily to my beloved PC and it was nowhere near as difficult as I expected to restore its files and get it back to its wonderfully familiar self. I even discovered that replacement power supplies of this unusual type are still available on Ebay! I persevered with the outboard and finally managed to get it going … beautifully. And now that I look at that dent in the car, I realise that I really can’t put off doing some much needed bodywork any longer. That extra dent is a major worry and I doubt I can fix it properly. But I CAN tidy it up to make it respectable and it will be a new experience and a new challenge for me. I’m almost daring to feel a little excited at the prospect!

When I look back at last Tuesday, I recall feeling totally defeated by evening time. And I admit there are times in my life when I really do feel that the game isn’t worth the candle …… when I imagine that finding oneself at journey’s end would be a welcome relief. But I’m glad to say, those times are rare and mostly, I feel excited, fascinated and exhilarated by my life. I hope there’s still a significant part of my story that is yet to unfold and I still find myself learning, each and every day.

And when I look back at last Tuesday, from the comfortable distance of a couple of days, I can see blessings that I certainly didn’t see then. I discovered some things about myself that only Tuesday could have taught me. I discovered that, no matter how impossible it might have seemed to repair my outboard, I nevertheless did just that. I discovered that, if you prang into my car, I will be more worried about your feelings, than about my loss and I’ll tell you to just forget it. I discovered that there’s almost no computer or software glitch that I can’t fix. And I discovered that I haven’t really found time yet, to dabble in auto bodywork and it might be large fun! I discovered that there are actually a few things about me, that I like.

The point to this little essay is not to share my woes with the world. It is rather, to remind myself (and hopefully you too) that even when your world turns to crap, even when life has you in its sights and adversity seems to be getting its jollies from watching you suffer … there are ALWAYS diamonds in the dirt. There are always blessings hidden in every situation and its only adversity that can really teach us what we can achieve, who we really are and what we are made of.

My troubles last Tuesday are only little ones, compared to the awful woes that some people face every day. But at the time, they sure seemed like the last straw to me. When I look back though, at the shattered ruins of Tuesday, I see the glitter of those diamonds in the dirt. And I even feel a little thankful for the lousy day I endured. Life is good, even when it seems bad …… and every day above ground really IS a good day!

Cheers All,

Andrew Caddle 2014-01-31



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