Monday, July 25, 2011

Lessons from a Load of Laundry

As long as I'm on a roll with putting my personality flaws on the table, here's another one... I have a tendency to overreact to things that aren't really a big deal in the grand scheme of life. I don't do well when things don't go as planned or when things are beyond my control (as you all probably know by now). It causes me to have really dumb arguments with Matt, and after our last unnecessary battle, I finally decided to pray long and hard for the strength and guidance to help me face the unexpected with a little more grace.

Well, I often forget that God has a wonderfully challenging sense of humor and less than 24 hours later I opened the dryer (which was brand just a few years ago) to find that a pen had exploded and left blue ink stains on the inside of it and all over an entire load of clothes! It looked like the grisly murder scene of a family of Smurfs. Now, normally I would freak out about something like this. And then I would probably yell at Matt and say: "Did you not empty your pockets yesterday? Because a pen exploded and the dryer's covered in ink. Our new dryer. That's never gonna come out, ya know. And a whole load of clothes went in the garbage. We can't afford to replace that stuff." And then I would probably just storm off, leaving him feeling bad about something that was a total accident and leaving me feeling like a complete jerk.

Fortunately, that's not what happened at all. I won't lie though. I might have freaked out a little bit, but after just a few seconds I remembered my little chat with God and I just closed the dryer and took a deep breath. I reminded myself that being mad about this won't undo it and that reacting inappropriately will only make it worse. So I put the clothes in a basket and set them aside. Then I Googled "how to remove ink from your dryer." (In case this ever happens to anyone else, you just soak an old towel in bleach diluted with water and run it through a cycle by itself. It works pretty well). Then I went through the basket of clothes and kept anything that was salvageable. As it turns out, only about half of the load was actually ruined.

When I talked to Matt later, our conversation when something like this: I said (calmly), "Guess what? A pen exploded in the dryer today." He said, "I bet it was mine. I'm sorry." Then I said, "No, that's ok. I forgot to check the pockets so I'm sorry too. I got it cleaned up pretty well, though. You can hardly see the spots. But some clothes did get ruined. My t-shirt that you hate was in there." He said, "well, at least something good came out of it."

Now every time I do laundry, I'll see the stains in the dryer and the sign taped to the wall that says "Check Pockets" and I'll always remember that (1) a simple change in the way I react to a situation creates an entirely different outcome; (2) attitude, self-control, and tact make all the difference in the world; and (3) being upset about a mistake doesn't change the fact that it happened, but learning from it can keep it from happening again. Matt was right. Something good did come out of it... in more ways than he knows. I just hope he's not disappointed when he finds out that I kept the t-shirt.

1 comment:

  1. Perfect, that's all. Just PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!