It has been one of those days that I hate. Not one that has been completely horrible, (although I am not fond of those either) it has just been a day when two or three seemingly little things have been really irritating.
A screw came loose on my brand new wheelchair. I cannot find where the screw fell, so now the chair does not fold correctly. It is a specialized screw that cannot be easily picked up at the local hardware store. Nobody from the wheelchair place can come out to look at it for a week or two. I found out that paperwork that I submitted to get reimbursed for something went to the wrong place two weeks ago, and I need to submit it all over again if I want to get paid. To top it off, my service dog got into a nasty tangle with some pesky fleas and lost. There are bites all over my body. I have come to the conclusion that being continually itchy just might be worse than being in pain. Powerful drugs work on pain, not much cools the itch. And my body responds to any kind of stress in the same way. My spasms intensify and I cannot move well. To make a long story short, I am collectively pretty darn miserable..
On days like this, I want to yell loudly, or crawl in a hole and not come out until everything is solved. I will admit that in the past on days like today I had a desire to run for the hills or take my tension out on people who don’t deserve it.
And then I remember the story of the washing machine.
I’d like to take credit and say that I came up with this story myself. I didn’t. I heard it from a speaker at a conference once. But the analogy is brilliant, and it explains for me how the irritants and frustration that happen to us day to day play an important role in our understanding of the world.
As we live our lives, our clothes get dirty. Hopefully, that comes from doing good things, like a hard day of work or intense exercise. But however we get our clothes dirty, at some point we want them to be clean so that we can do it all again.
When that happens, we put the clothes in the washing machine, fill it with water and put in some laundry soap. But if we stop there the clothes will always stay dirty. In order for the clothes to be clean, the agitator has to be working. Once that is moving, the clothes can move around and get rid of stains and soil. The clothes won’t be clean without the agitator.
So, it might be easy to wish for an existence free of worry, frustration, and stress. But without those things in our lives, we wouldn’t recognize the good times when they come. And I don’t know about you, but I never want to get to the point when a really good day loses its significance because it is only one of many. Will there be frustrating days in my future? Count on it. Am I ever going to like them? Not a chance. But as sure as I am that bad days will come, I am certain that good ones will follow. I am glad I have enough of both to know the difference.
So, with a little perspective on days like today, I take a breath. I smile, I sigh and I take it one step at a time. That is absolutely the best that I can do.
And somewhere in that process, it never hurts to remember the washing machine.