Some of my most clarifying moments have come during a pity party.
My last pity party (besides today’s) took place about a year and a half ago. I was actually here, in Jarabacoa, staying at the hostel by myself for a little get away weekend. You know, to read on a couch different from my own and watch Netflix on a TV screen rather than my computer. The usual. I had just found out that the guy I really really liked and with whom I was working up the nerve to have the talk was dating someone (who was not me) and had neglected to tell me about it. So I sat on the bed and cried for a while. But my kind of pity party is a productive pity party. So while I cried, I thought and I processed.
I thought about what would’ve happened if things had gone my way and we could’ve had that chat about our feelings. I thought about (what I thought was) the best case scenario – he likes me too and we decide to give this thing ago! Then I thought about what that would look like with us living in two different countries and all. Would he move here? No, probably not. Did I want to move back to the States? No, not really. In the end I realized I didn’t actually want to date him at all and boop boom bam problem solved, pity party over. Now of course there are still times when I think of him with what I’m sure is a wistful twinkle in my eye but at the end of the day I know it all worked out for the best even if it hurt for a while.
A week ago yesterday I moved in my new house. When I moved into the house there were neither lights nor power, even though I was told I would have both. The electric problem was resolved that same day, a week ago yesterday, but the water problem has yet to be completely resolved. Most of the time I just roll with it, turning on the pump to take a shower, hauling buckets full of water from the cistern to the toilet so I can flush it, and washing my hands with purified water. But today! Today I wanted to do laundry. And I thought it would be cool because I would just turn on the pump and fill up the washing machine, then drain the water into a jug so I would have toilet-flushing water right on hand in the house. So convenient! Almost as convenient as tanks that just fill themselves up.
So the first part of the plan went great. I turned on the pump, filled up the washing machine with water and clothes (and detergent and fabric softener of course) and then let it rip. The first cycle went smoothly and then it was time to drain the water. I had the hose leading into the old empty jug and it started filling up quickly. Then, when the washing machine was about half empty, it just stopped draining. I couldn’t figure out why! So I sat down and threw myself a pity party.
I cried about the water situation, about the ant situation, about how gross all these freaking bathrooms are, about how I can’t just walk out of my house and find a moto anymore, about how Kristin and Melissa aren’t here, about how much mud I’ve tracked into the house, about how the grass needs to be cut, about how I don’t have an outside trash can so I don’t know what to do with my trash, about how I haven’t blogged or written anything in over two weeks, about what a crappy prayer partner I am, and on and on.
Just one week in my life in Jarabacoa doesn’t look exactly how I was envisioning in. This is mostly because it’s only been a week and (surprise!) I’m not a master at my job yet so it takes up a lot of my time and energy. I recognize that new things take time and that I have to be patient with myself. I also recognize that it can be so easy to fall into bad habits and patterns. So during my pity party today I started thinking about small changes I can make to create a life here in Jarabacoa that ushers in the kingdom, that makes great, big space for the Spirit, and that makes me look more like Jesus.
FIRST I need to get internet in this house. This might seem counter-productive to my kingdom, Jesusy goals but I have realized (after a week without internet in this house) that it’s not. My thinking this past week has been, “I have internet at work. I don’t need internet at the house. It’s just another way to waste time. Plus it’s one more bill to pay.” My thinking during my pity party was more along the lines of this, “Every day I come home from work and watch Will & Grace DVDs. That is not productive. The internet inspires me to write, inspires me to read, connects me with friends, connects me with job opportunities, and fills my house with pretty music.” So that’s happening tomorrow.
SECOND I need some friends. I know that friends aren’t things you can just order up like the internet. I know that real relationships take time. I know that having friends that aren’t like me is important and valuable to my development. I also know that I have been having imaginary conversations in my head with Melissa and Kristin because up until now I didn’t realize the value of having a good friend around who understands what you’re going through. (I appreciate and love Melissa and Kristin for more reasons than their relatability and availability. They’re great.) So far my only friends are Dominican guys. Oh and my boss. And they’re all great, you guys. So great. But my poor boss is going to get so tired of me if I don’t find some more American friends to talk to. One of the ways I’m hoping to achieve this one is by getting my butt to church.
THIRD I need to do things every day to get this house in order. I need to be up the plumber’s butt until every faucet and toilet in this house works like it’s supposed to. I need to buy ant traps. I need to clean everything. I need to buy more lightbulbs. I need to make a big long list and start crossing things off! Not only for my own sanity (I definitely feel most comfortable in (mostly) clean and organized spaces) but also because JEHOVAH JIREH and I’m most likely getting a roommate starting in August.
Yesterday I went to a BBQ with my boss’ family. I spent about half the time with my boss’ kids (you know how I do) but I also mingled with real live adults and ate really good food. The BBQ was at the home of a woman named Shirley. I’m really hoping Shirley and I can be good friends. She is an American but has lived here for a number of years and just recently built herself this gorgeous and adorable cabin up on a mountain. As she was showing me around the cabin yesterday she said that this life has always been a dream of hers – to have a cabin on a mountain. I told her how that’s my dream, too! (Except I’d rather be down here looking up at the mountains.) Just that quick exchange with Shirley yesterday reminded me that in many ways I am in charge of my life. I am in charge of where I live, where I work, and most importantly, my attitude.
What is my Jarabacoa dream? It’s not pity parties on the steps outside the laundry room (although they are productive!) and it’s not hours of TV every night after an exhausting day at work. So I’m taking control and taking responsibility of my own life. And you can, too! So many Facebook statuses and tweets and Snapchats and memes are about “getting out of here” and “one day…” Make that day today, you guys. Spend some time crying if you need to. Make a list of the concrete changes you can make today to close the gap between what your life is and what you want it to be. Make room for the Spirit. Treat people like you want to be treated. And use the internet to fill your house with pretty music.