Several years ago, I read in Anne Lamott’s “Travelling Mercies” a to-me-then unusual way of discerning God’s will.
She was considering aborting her son Sam. And went to a priest for counsel.
(Though it is a tricky situation to see counsel. Hey, what’s the poor priest to tell you? Abort the baby? Be creative on your taxes? Quit a lucrative job and become a writer? There are some alternatives which no responsible professional can advise you to take one of the alternatives. In those situations, it is best if the individual makes the decision between herself, her conscience and God.)
Anyway, I have used that idea (new to me then, as I said) as one of the factors in making decisions. How does Plan A make me feel? How does Plan B make me feel?
This way of proceeding has its limitations. Sometimes neither Plan A nor Plan B make you feel happy, good and relieved.
There is this strange dream I have had 2 or 3 times of late. I walk to the back the garden of a property into which I have moved a few months ago and find a block of rooms in which squatters are living all crowded in. In an open area, they are bathing under taps. Dark people in loin clothes. Several families in a room. A suite of rooms is being used as a conference centre, with offices–on my property!! People don’t realize it’s mine.
I announce that this is my property. Some know it and are whiney, cringey and servile. Some deny it. I find neat vineyards they planted, neat veg. beds. A factory built on my property.
I look through the rooms and realize we could set up our ping-pong table in one, rent others for £200 a month, have an office, a kitchen in another.
Evict them? They are begging to stay, or fighting to stay.
No good choice.
One thing for sure, I would be happier and more peaceful if I evicted them, rather than have the continual annoyance of squatters on my property. There are other places, other gardens in the world to squat. The correct thing to do was to reclaim my property–the only thing which would give peace in the long run.
Roy and I were trying to decode the meaning of this dream I have had at least three times. We do have a large garage and barn and greenhouse with things we need to get rid off, and in which we could place our pingpong table, have an extra office etc. Roy said the stuff we haven’t had time to get rid off was the squatters.
But I also had another situation which was similar. We had someone working for us whom we had got on board when we were busy. Soon after that, we had a circumstantial change, and were no longer so busy. And it turned out that the person was not right for the job, didn’t have the right skills, so was slow and expensive. Didn’t wat to learn the new skills. But needed the money. So we kept them on for months and months because they really did need the job. It was a kind of no-win situation. You feel sad and bad if you take away someone’s part-time job which they were relying on. You feel annoyed and irritated if you are paying someone who is not particularly good fast at their work because they lack the skills for it, and so they land up being an expensive drain on the business.
One thing is sure. You will feel better letting them go, and facing the sadness of doing that once and for all, than the ongoing irritation of having an unnecessary business expense, and not running your business with sleekness and efficiency. So, sadly, we let go of this sweet person. We were sad, but I think we saved a lot of irritation in the long run.
So sadness and peace at the same time is possible