When It All Goes Wrong

P1230385 compressedI’ve been thinking about when it all goes wrong. Except ‘wrong’ needs to be put in quotation marks.

Much of what we don’t like about life, much of what ruffles our feathers and steals our satisfactions are simply the anomalies that we haven’t counted on and have no control over.

The food doesn’t taste to our liking, its either too sweet or to sour, too rich or too bland. The pillow doesn’t squish just right, too much or too little. The bed is too soft or too hard, too narrow or too big. Bedding, too light or not light enough.

That person looked at me the wrong way, or didn’t look at me at all. The driver is too crazy or too slow or too rude or too quiet.

The day is too busy or too boring, too long or too short. Shopping was a nightmare, that gal got my drink wrong, that fellow cut me off. It was too expensive, they didn’t have it to my liking.

The sun is too hot, the clouds are too many, the rain is too much. The day is too gloomy, the room too cold, the fireplace too hot…

The unspoken expectations and standards that mark how well our days go, how well our month has been, and whether we will be happy within the next 30 minutes or not…

“Wrong” has so much power to change our moods and affect our experiences,

But what if there is not a thing wrong?

… What if nothing is wrong?

I took a trip to Uganda in November of 2011, and am preparing to head there once more in less than a weeks time.

Over the course of my months between these trips I’ve been thinking about how really, when we travel to another country, another continent and another culture, that in essence everything goes wrong.

And yet, nothing is wrong.

Yet to some, it would surely feel wrong.

We are used to our specific food, the way we eat our food, the time of day we eat.

We have routines around washing and bathing and personal hygiene and care.

Standards of personal space, travel needs, of interactions with strangers and general expectations of safety.

And so much more

What if all that is tossed to the wind. What if all that you expect is not to be. What if everything you are used to is simply a figment of your particular culture? What if everything was flipped upside down. How might we manage?

Well? or not so well?

When all of the ‘normal’ that we are so accustomed to is stripped away, what would you really have, and what would you really need?

I tell you, very little.

After 22 hours of travel, simply having a bed to sleep in is heavenly. No matter that the roof is leaking onto a corner of the bed. No matter that you are sharing the room with a stranger. A bed is all one really needs!

Nothing is wrong

Awakened to a new day, washing means a 3X4′ outside concrete ‘closet’, with a wooden slat door, an old car door for a roof, with a basin of hot water (that someone has just worked over a stove to produce for you), two small nails to hang your clothes on (the ones you have taken off and the clean you are going to put on, not to mention your towel)….  Hot water and that bit of space is all that is really needed.

Nothing is wrong

And what about going to the bathroom. First we find out ‘bathroom’ means nothing. Neither does ‘restroom’ or ‘washroom’. Each of these greeted with a blank stare, and with ones mind scrambling to express the need, ‘toilet’ comes to mind.


Directed to a hole in the ground, the communal neighborhood toilet, thankful to have brought my own toilet paper…

Nothing is wrong

Is it different? For sure

Do I need to fix it? No

Nothing is wrong

A few years back now I separated from my husband, but did not leave the family home for some time (far longer than I would have ever imagined!). I simply moved a single mattress to the Den floor and made that my abode for what turned into nine long months.

Squashed between the piano and the desk, with a foot of space on one side and about three feet at the bottom, that 9’X4′ space became the little bit I could completely call my own and the only part of ‘home’ where I felt safe.

It was quite wrong. Friends of mine upon entering that space would well up in tears, appalled at my living conditions. Bless their hearts.

Today, I am SO glad for those months in that little space.

Those months stripped me forever of having to have anything a certain way ever again.

All the things I thought once mattered, don’t matter whatsoever.


Nothing is wrong

During my month in Uganda I’ll be visiting ten communities. Moving to a new location about every three or four days, staying with the people, refusing ‘nice’ only needing safe, I’ve no idea what my accommodations will be,

But I know it’ll be good and fine

And nothing will be wrong

And when  nothing is wrong we have ample space for joy and delight and fellowship and community.

When nothing is wrong, our eyes are open to see all that is right

I can hardly wait

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