I've been having an ongoing conversation with a woman who purchased an item from my Etsy shop just before Thanksgiving. One of her items arrived broken and we both mourned the loss, which warmed my heart and gave us a great connection.
I've since thrown some additional pieces for her and was trying very hard to get her items out of the kiln and on their way to her during the Christmas break. As the fates would have it, no such luck. I sat in front of the computer this morning feeling crappy about the delay, but I gave it to her straight. I had some anxiety about hearing back from her. Even in all my years of living in a world that seems hellbent on toughening my thin-skinned sensitivity, I still loathe disappointing people. I waited, distracting myself with some lingering work projects before the corporate world breaks for the holidays, the entire time my stomach churning with what she might be thinking or writing in an email back to me. Then I scolded myself for being so ridiculous/not planning for this unforeseen event earlier/for being anxious/for being distracted and on and on.
Finally, her return email gave me a huge sigh of relief. She was gracious, kind, understanding and even sympathetic to the process. And it reminded me how often I expect the worst. I brace myself for it by imagining the very worst outcome; then I live the experience silently in the pit of my stomach. Almost always, what I expect is considerably worse than what actually occurs.
My shopper in a way reminded me of an important fact. Any form of art cannot be rushed. If that can be said for a canvas, or a mound of clay...can't the very same be said of us?
I'll need to send along a warm thank you note in her shipment. In her shopping for a gift, she inadvertantly gave me one, too.