The kitchen sink

I should be putting a new faucet on our kitchen sink. I changed the cartridge and the leaking stopped a little. Yesterday it started spraying almost as much by the handle as out of the spout. (Not constantly, mind you, but if the handle was aligned just wrong.)

Tonight we bought a new faucet. At 8:45, I started taking things out of the cabinet. At 8:50, I decided that I didn’t really feel like starting into a project which could last longer than my patience. So I came to write.

Now I’m discovering that everything but the kitchen sink is running through my head. The list of things to do. The fatigue from the things I’ve been doing. The convergence of oughts.

And in the middle of all this, I’m trying to figure out why it is that I can’t write a simple post and wondering what’s wrong with me.

You know the feeling, too. You cannot do the task at hand and you are convinced that you are a failure, that your brain is falling apart, that you don’t measure up, that God doesn’t love you.

Let me tell you the truth.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

Nothing that isn’t wrong with every mortal.

You are exhausted. No one with that schedule can think clearly. No one, after teaching that many times in one day can be expected to put together two coherent thoughts the next day. No one, after getting no sleep last night because of kids waking up, can react with calmness and clarity to waiting in line for poor customer service. No one, after trying to solve every problem for the past three months, could remember even a two item “to do” list.

You are highly connected. No one with that many friends, acquaintances, requests, feeds, and comments can be expected to scale it without slamming into a wall or two.

You are caring. You have decided that someone has to be the adult and you are the one. But being the adult is pretty thankless and so you will, without a doubt, have doubt.

You have actually done something. I know you. You have forgotten the six things that you accomplished yesterday. You are so used to moving on to the next event, the next project, the next item that you can’t accept the fact that you did get something done.

Because we are juggling everything AND the kitchen sink, we don’t have the time to remember that they aren’t all made to be juggled.

But this isn’t a post that says, “stop trying to do everything.” Because our response to those posts is to say, “See, I really am a failure, I am even failing at success.”

Instead, get up from the chair, go into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and say, “You look tired. You deserve to be exhausted. Go to bed.”

This sink will still be there in the morning.

But you might be able to turn the wrench without stripping the threads and making the leak even worse.


7 responses to “The kitchen sink

  1. Thank you, Jon. Thank you for permission to cry, to be exhausted, and to know that the dishes in my sink will at some point get clean. Just maybe tomorrow.

  2. Jon, I woke this morning thinking the same thing, and an angel pointed me here to make sure that I wrote about it too. Thank you for saying this so eloquently. You inspire me.

  3. Pingback: Incredibly Human - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once.

  4. Wow, Jon, you expressed my thoughts! Last night, I was juggling way too many things at once and I was facing the task of putting together a flyer for an upcoming event. I tabled it to today because I felt like my brain couldn’t handle yet another thing. So here I am today, sitting here refreshed and in a better position of tackling a few tasks today.

    My mother-in-law always tells me to do the things that matter and the rest can wait. Wise woman.

  5. Hi Becky. Yes, you have permission. The whiplash of Africa to here, of the pile of things to catch up on…what’s the social media equivalent of jet lag?

    Thanks Liz. The feeling is mutual.

    DeafMom – she is a wise woman. The challenge is sorting through to the things that matter. But I have a feeling that usually? We know.

  6. Hi Joh,

    Much the same way, my wife was feeling defeated the other night when she sat down to study for her disciple course. She was SO exhausted, the most she could muster was stare at the book and cry. “Is this all there is to life?”

    I was at a complete loss for words. The words in this blog post would have been so spot on. That is exactly what I wanted to tell her, but failed.

    Anyway, despite my shortcomings, my wife instinctively knew what to do–she skiped the Bible study and went to bed. Happy ending.

    Do you ever find yourself wanting to express something to someone in emotional pain, but you just cannot think of the words to express your feelings?


  7. oh man, Bob. You mean, in the last three hours?

    That’s what hugs, shoulder rubs, cups of tea, silent presence, listening, (whatever other non-words ways of support) are for.

    I try to find the right words way too often. But often? There aren’t any because…words aren’t the point.