The weight of a straw

The weight of a straw is small—so small that it’s hard to imagine that it could ever do any damage. But if you pile enough straws together, the weight adds up. It adds until one day the addition of just one more straw is all it takes to break the camel’s back.

Life is like that too. Things that would be minor annoyances or frustrations in normal times can be lethal when they hit on top of an already enormous pile. We’ve all seen people who “over react” in some way to some situation and wondered what their problem was, when really the situation we observed was only the final straw that broke through their control, and the reaction we see is more to the whole pile of other straws that we didn’t see than to the one we did.

I keep wondering which straw is going to be the one that breaks me. I got up this morning to a car that wouldn’t start. While on the phone trying to get that figured out, I discovered that my roof was leaking and dripping (rather copiously) on the floor.

Fortunately, a new battery seems to have fixed the car problem. I was fortunate enough to have friends to volunteer to drive me to the store so I could purchase a new one. I’m grateful to have that problem solved so quickly and (relatively) affordably. But in a city that’s not built for public transportation or for pedestrian traffic, to not have a working car is paralyzing. And it’s another reminder of how hard it is to do life alone sometimes.

I’ve called the roofer. I am lucky enough to have the records from the previous owner to know who re-did the roof four years ago. I am still waiting for him to come check out the leak to see what that will cost to fix. I was so proud of myself for dealing with the recent animal infestation in my roof all by myself (don’t even ask—I don’t want to talk about that one!) and to have survived the recent ice dams from the ice storm with only minor roof leakage (to the best of my knowledge) that to already have another roof issue in a completely different part of the house this soon is demoralizing. And having had to already replace the hot water heater and add a water softener since I left full-time employment, the potential costs here are frightening.

I’m already weighed down with more straws than I care to count from too many losses too close together. Car problems and house problems seem trivial in comparison, but they are just more straws on top of an overflowing pile.

I’m tired. I’m heartworn. I hear depression calling my name. I so wish there was a pause button on life now and then to prevent the addition of any more straws until I could deal with the ones I already have. In the absence of that, I’m trying to live by the following philosophy:

“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” ~ Rilke

In other words, this too shall pass. If I can just keep the rainfall of straws from breaking me, that is. For that well-known darkness is lurking just around the corner, waiting for the break so it can creep in.

Universe? If you’re listening, I could use a little break in the straws about now. Please?