I really had a good lesson from a Tarptent! A lesson I needed very much.
Here's the story:
Heaven Admin ordered a Rainbow Tarptent. I was still in Chicago, and, of course, I am more than happy to deliver it to him in South Africa. The tarptent weighs only about two pounds. It comes rolled up and compacted into about 4 inches in diameter and 2 to 2½ feet long and packed tightly and firmly into a bag. As Heaven Admin advised, I took the contents out of the box to save space in my suitcase. Unfortunately, the shipping label inside the box said: Shipped, and said a lining rather than the tent itself. It neglected to say that the tent had been shipped.
I called the company to make sure what Heaven Admin had ordered was what he received. The customer service rep suggested I open the bag and take out the contents. I did. Then the customer service rep asked me what color it was. "Gray," I said.
He said, "That's the tent. The lining is white." I didn't have to open up the whole thing!
Anyway, so then began the task of fitting the now opened-up tent back into its bag. I couldn't do it. It was an impossibility. Imagine me on the floor, trying to roll up this tent and fit it back into its skinny bag. Impossible. I couldn't do it.
This is not the first time in my life that I had tried an impossible task and quit.
The next morning I said to myself: "I have to get this to Heaven Admin. I can't have it sprawling all over in my suitcase to get damaged. I am going to get Heaven Admin's tent to him in the bag it came in."
At this point, I was determined. The key word is determined. Nothing was going to stop me. I was in charge. "Tent, I am going to get you back into this bag whether you like it or not."
The night before, my mind was closed, and I didn't see something that was clearly visible n the morning when my mind was open. There was a string around the opening of the bag, and I was able to loosen the string about an inch. This inch made a difference, but it wasn't just the wider opening. It was also more powerfully, the clarity of my no-nonsense determination.
You know what? I did roll the tent up, and I rolled it as tightly as I could, and I got it back into the original bag. I did it. I did it. I had rolled the tent sloppily but I did roll it, and I did stuff the poorly-rolled up tent in. I DID IT. I DID IT!!!!
The night before I had given up. In the morning, I was going to succeed no matter what.
Determination made all the difference. It wasn't that I decided to be determined, you understand. I found myself determined. I had reason to be determined. I wasn't going to let Heaven Admin down.
Do you remember the true story of the slightly-built young mother who lifted up a car in order to save her child's life? She had a very good reason to be determined, and she simply did what she had to do. She did it immediately without thinking or planning. There was no decision for her to make.
In that sense, and in that sense only, our situations were similar.
Later, in South Africa, Heaven Admin opened up the tent and actually set it up in three minutes. Then he, without any difficulty rolled the tent up compactly, and returned it to its bag.
What was his secret? First he laid the fabric out neatly flapped. Then it was a cinch. So I had another lesson here. Do what you're doing neatly. Make the task easier in the first place.
Look out, world, there is no stopping me now!