Practicing Steps

On the morning of Friday, August 30, I confirmed to my wife, the Commander Supreme, what I suspect that she has quietly known for almost 44 years—she married a moron.

Let me explain my confession.

Earlier in the summer, we had our basement professionally waterproofed. That intrusion turned our quiet basement upside down. It was organized chaos during the process, and for me the chaos is still churning as I struggle to get the basement back to normal.

On Thursday evening, I was attempting to be a good husband by washing clothes. I filled the washing machine with a load of my dirty clothes. This was a dark load, so I set the dial for cold water,  and pushed the start button. 

I had a properly measured cup of liquid detergent ready to hold under the cascading cold water. When my hand and cup hit the water, the water I felt was hot, not cold. How could this be? I rechecked the dial setting. It was clearly on cold.

I let that load run. Prepped a second load, went through the same routine—hot water again, no cold.

So then, something dangerous happened—I started thinking.

I inspected the hose connections at the source. Both were properly connected to hot(red) and cold(blue). I followed the hoses to the back of the washing machine. The connections looked correct. But, I inspected further, and that’s when I discovered the incompetence of my brain. 

Once the basic basement water proofing work had been completed, I rushed to get our washer and dryer back on line. I failed in that rush to look at the big H and C on the back of the washer. These not so subtle reminders were obviously created for husbands like me who quite often operate without a full deck. So, since early July, thanks to my ineptness we have been washing clothes in hot water. I quickly made the correction.

Now the tough part was ahead of me—making the confession. Perhaps, I should consult a website for brainless husbands for advice.  Not wanting to ruin the Commander Supreme’s Thursday evening, I saved my confession for Friday morning. 

On Friday morning, I was pleasantly surprised. The confession didn’t garner much of a response—a mild “Good that you found it.” But, it was the mildness of the reply that worried me. What was the Commander thinking behind her tolerant brown eyes?

My hunch is she was thinking something like this—“My husband, just confirmed for me what I have known for years. Now, if I ever need proof in the future to convince someone that his brain is smaller than a ceratopogonidae, a noseeum, I have it!”

Working in a church, I sometimes come across situations that make me wonder about the functionality of the gray matter of the people who use our building.

How can a coffee urn be left for weeks without being properly cleaned?

For example, how can a person not flush a fully loaded toilet? 

How can a person put bagged landscaping debris into a recycling dumpster?

How can a person slam a hymnal into the pew rack with such force that the rack collapses?

In that same environment, how can a person allow one of their feet to make one of the nailed slats of the Bible holding rack under the pew collapse?

We have church members who volunteer to tidy up the pews to make sure everything is neat and properly stocked for the next Sunday service. Bottom line on this one, I’m sorry to let you down, but we Methodist are not neat worshippers.

On that same Friday of my confession to the Commander Supreme, I was tasked with making a pew rack and Bible rack repair in the Sanctuary. 

In making those repairs, I’m pretty sure the devil must have been loitering in the Sanctuary. Because everything that could go wrong went wrong in fixing the flawed fixtures. At one point, I contemplated removing every hymnal and Bible rack. 

I thought further, I would love to catch the person who created these rack problems. I guarantee it would be the last time, and then it dawned on me— Bill, you are whining, whining, whining, whining. What about your own imperfections? Have you forgotten the hot and cold washing machine blunder?

Earlier on Friday morning, after I had made my washing machine catastrophe confession to the Commander Supreme, I headed to Trinity.

I was outside on the Preschool side of the building. Preschool starts on Tuesday, I was knocking down spider webs and sweeping debris.

At the entrance closest to the Bicentennial Garden, I saw a young mother and father and their two children walking toward that doorway.  I asked if they needed to get in the building, and they responded, “No, we’re just practicing steps.”

One of the parents had the daughter by her hand. They were navigating the sloped brick sidewalk and the steps that lead to the door landing. Words of encouragement came from the parent to the daughter.

These wise parents were prepping the daughter for Tuesday’s opening. They were helping her anticipate this new environment—practicing steps.

So much of life is simply about practicing steps. 

Everything we do on a daily basis that we take for granted involved  a series of steps. Some steps are planned, some are improvised, and some intrude without warning.

Maybe, our chances of attempting to live right are better if we consider our practices in our steps. For me that can mean incorporating the practice of taking a giant step back and reflecting on my imperfections.

This quote from Katharine Hepburn sums me up pretty well:

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers—but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But, it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change.”

Without question, and with quite a dose of grumpiness, I am often quick to blame.

When this happens, Luke 6:42 is nowhere to be found in the vacuum between my ears:

“Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye?”

Clearly, no speck of sawdust is in my eye, I have a 2×4 lodged in there.

I need to rethink my steps in life.

I wonder if I can change?

My steps need some practicing.

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