Do you ever feel like you can relate to this picture? You wake up in the morning, groggy, half asleep, grab for your coffee, take a sip, it is just not hot enough, you throw open the door to the microwave and ick hits you. Split second decision: is it worth heating up the coffee in the cesspool of ick or forget it and drink cold coffee? Which would you decide?
For many of us, our inside voice would say, “Man, I have to clean that thing,” but continue right on heating our coffee and get on with our day. Some of us would not be able to handle it at all, grab a cloth some disinfectant and start wiping down. Some of us would shrug our shoulders, put in the coffee, close the door and push start, oblivious to any problem.
My brain looks at this picture and thinks, wow it looks kind of like my life, something has exploded all over it. Problems are like that – kind of icky. Problems fly at you out of nowhere, they stick to your life in all the wrong places and when you sit back and observe them, they are not pretty to look at.
What do we do in that case? We have choices: pick up some disinfectant and start cleaning which could stand for getting some counselling and help with the problem. We shrug our shoulders and convince ourselves that we can go on living with the mess and not worry about it at all. The problem is, with almost all messes, the mess will continue to get messier, bacteria and mold are the next stages – rot and smell.
The story behind the picture is my friend Helena. She is one of the awesome volunteers at the Mission Thrift Store. She found the above microwave in a pile of donations. The rest of us wrote it off but she picked it up and worked on it for a long time. The outcome was this:
An amazing transformation, you would never have known what the inside looked like unless you had taken the before picture.
The cool thing about Helena is that she sees the potential; rarely does she write something off that is worth pursuing. A little ick or crud does not put her off, she rolls up her sleeves and makes it work. Her attitude is exceptional and different than most, she does not give up.
Those problems that “stick” to us, what is our way of cleaning them? Deal with them or ignore them? Can we see the potential or do we give up? It is a hard question because it involves some kind of work on our part, but the thing is, the decision is ours to make and there are always some options to any problem. Yet it is surprising how much "ick" we are willing to walk around in and live with and sometimes we might just need a before and after picture to see what is possible on the other side of the ick.