• Maggie Wheeler

20 Pounds in Transit

9 kg = 19.84 lbs

Each summer, as you probably do, I choose one major outdoor upgrade to work on. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that for the past few years, the target was The Mountain and all the accumulated brush, small trees and debris that had amassed before my arrival. That was achieved this spring.

This summer, I have been diligently working on the garden beds that surround the house itself. Though still hosts to lovely perennials, they had not been truly worked over or replenished in years and were quite sunken down.

The answer was a substantial amount of topsoil to bring them back up, both in landscape terms and general health. If I were 20 years younger, I would do the common sense and fiscally smart thing: order a load to be delivered to my driveway. But the fallout of that would be shoveling and wheelbarrowing day after day until done, something this half-century body just cannot do anymore without repercussions.

Each week, I go to my local Home Hardware and buy 10 twenty-pound bags of topsoil from Ed (Yes, we are now on first-name basis). Ed gives me the ticket and I go around to the back to have them loaded into my trunk. These then go either directly onto the gardens if the weather is fine or into my garage for later if not. This is a more manageable process for both my back and my knees—and my time. And 20 pounds at a time is better than a wheelbarrow full.

Newton’s laws do not say that the weight of a load increases when you carry it somewhere. But tell that to my back. Twenty pounds in my trunk is not 20 pounds in transit to my garden beds. And ten bags in transit is really 200 pounds plus the energy to haul it to the current garden bed for the week.

So where I am hauling you now with my soil saga?

Last week, in “Quiet and Peace” I said the war was over. A major part of the peace was to let go of old grudges and battles to win the war of midlife. At this age, we all have a short menu of people whom we have loved, respected and/or trusted who hurt us without reason. I have recently been reminded that forgiving these life casualties is not easy and requires a shift in perspective.

We often choose (sometimes unconsciously) to carry those 20 pounds rather than letting go and forgiving. Twenty pounds in transit is still easier to deal with than the conscious act of deciding to set it down and walk away.

But forgiving is hard for most of us mortals. It is a divine act and we too often cannot quite reach that level or maintain it to achieve the release of the pain.

Some years ago, I made a switch in my head and heart. I had come to a point in life when I really wanted peace in my soul. Forgiving my heart wounds hadn’t worked. It felt like being in a ring with a sumo wrestler—bigger, faster and more skilled than I was. I would try and try, only to be slammed down on the mat again by my heart.

So I gave up on forgiveness and decided to go for acceptance instead. What a change for me! I could do this. And I did. I accepted who the people were that had let me down, how they should have been in my life, that I had truly done my best with them, that the situations actually were what they were (not me seeing things incorrectly), and that these casualties—while painful and true losses—were simply part of life.

I stopped carrying those loads and set them down. And do you know what? Not only did this set me free, but one day I also realized that in each case my heart had quietly forgiven them with the healing of acceptance and time.

I’ve recently been back in the ring with the sumo wrestler again. Someone I respected and admired let me down this year, and I climbed in to be thrown to the mat a few times before I remembered acceptance. Sometimes we struggle to let go of our need to trust and respect someone after we see their true colours, and it takes time to accept them for who they really are. As usual, I see no reason for this latest life casualty. But I accept it.

And another 20 pounds hits the ground. Someday, forgiveness will quietly arrive.

Yesterday, I saw Ed and got my weekly load. My knees are not happy with the 20 pounds in transit each bag, each time. But my gardens are flourishing.

So is my soul.

Talk next week,


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