So, who is Myrtle anyway?
I have no idea. I am not sure whether or not she is even a real person. Her significance in my life, however, is very real. Confused? So am I. That’s the point. Myrtle is like a force, a secret wind of confusing chaos that circles around us. I believe that she is a trickster. Never meaning any harm, she gently rolls us out of our beds of “we’ve got this” and sets our feet on the floor of reality.
When the two Labradors entertain themselves with the kitchen trash can all night long, and we wake to find slimy banana peels, dirty diapers, and gritty coffee grounds in strange places – and instead of getting the shot gun or calling animal control to pick up two “strays” that broke in, we l.a.u.g.h. Yes, we laugh. We throw up our hands and in the middle of our frustration…we release it all and laugh at ourselves. You know, the kind that makes us bend over at the waist and point. We laugh until we are out of breath and have to sit down. We cry and giggle. Like when our kids make us breakfast for Mother’s Day and we spend the next four hours cleaning broken eggs off the floor with a stupid smile on our face, touched that they wanted to do something nice for us. That seems to be the force of Myrtle. She doesn’t create the chaos…she shows us how to enjoy it.
I learned all of this from my maternal grandmother. Actually, the only thing she ever said was “it was all around the house with Myrtle”. She said this with a laugh, smirk, smile, or giggle. After a day of stress and one thing after another going wrong, she would smile and say “Lord, it’s been all around the house with Myrtle.” I inferred the above. For years, I tried to figure out what in the world she was talking about. Once, I even asked her, “Mamaw, who is Myrtle?” She just smiled and said “it was just something people said.” That was all the information that I got. It was enough to intrigue me, though, and make a lasting impact.
I have yet to unravel the true meaning of “all around the house with Myrtle.” And I have yet to hear that phrase spoken by anyone other than my grandmother. Even my mother can’t explain its origins. No matter. The lesson that Myrtle has taught me is more important than who or what she is.
The joy that is created out of our frustrations, stress, worries, fears, and angers to relieve those very stresses is powerful. What an awesome gift from God. We don’t have to get stuck in the mud in this world that we are passing through. Life is hard. Our burdens, broken hearts, grief, and troubles are certainly heavy enough to weigh us down. And they would, except for the joy that we find within. God has indeed blessed all things, even our pain and suffering. Finding ten dollars means nothing if you have a million, but what if you have none? Nothing could compare to that feeling. Consider, though, that first you must give up the million. That’s right. You cannot experience the joy of finding ten dollars if you are in possession of one million. It will never happen. Now, most of us don’t have to worry about giving up our million dollars. We can, though, experience that joy every day when Myrtle comes around.
My grandmother never seemed to mind the visits of chaos. The moment I realized that she welcomed the joy that trouble would bring is the beginnings of my understanding Myrtle. Maybe it is “just something people say”, but maybe it’s more than that.