Last week, I had a really bad day.

It was horrible. Trust me, you don’t want to know the details.

Toward the end of the day, I decided to just stop and do something pleasant. And so, I made my Buddhist altar.

No, I haven’t suddenly become a Buddhist. I’m still Christian, Anglican to be exact. But there are many things about Buddhism that I admire, especially the Zen variety. The lack of aggression, the emphasis on living in the “now”, the importance it places on poetry and art, these all seem important to me.

It also emphasizes meditation. And that’s really what this was – a meditation altar. I ordered everything from a jewellry store in Collingwood. It was quite neat, two very ornamental china Buddhas, an incense holder, various kinds of incense, a gong, some small bells, some very unusual musical instruments, and two fake candlesticks, with Christmas trees lights in them. That was the only part that bothered me – why go fake?

I remembered in Europe, all the churches are open and you pay a small amount and light a candle for someone. But in a few churches, they have modernized the process. You pay some money and a stupid Christmas tree light comes on.

The effect is just not the same.
But I thought I should at least try them. This turned into a big hassle. First, I had to thread the light cord through the Chinese screen I had, than I had to find an extension cord, then the lights didn’t work anyway.

I could have taken them back, but suddenly I decided I really didn’t like them. They were tacky. No taste at all. I would use real candles, I decided, in very big, very ornamental candlesticks.

It was while I was dismantling this electrical nightmare that disaster struck. I knocked over a big plant and suddenly there was earth all over my livingroom carpet.

Oh no!

Sometimes I just can’t do something. I don’t know what it is, a failure of will or energy. But sometimes I just think I can’t do this! This was one of those occasions. I just could not bring myself to clean up the dirt scattered everywhere.

So I called up a really good friend and said “I’ll pay you $50 if you clean up all this bloody earth I’ve just spilled.”

So, bless her, she came over and helped me. Then the negotiations started. We were in the ridiculous situation where the service provider was trying to drive the price down and the person who’d received the service was trying to drive the price up.

In the end, I think she took $5, just so I could feel I’d paid her.

But what a nice thing to do! What a good friend! It’s a wonder she didn’t tell me to clean up my own dirt! But now, of course, I will do any favor under the sun for her.

Thank you, Phyllis.

You’re terrific!

Author: Thelma Morrison

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