“I wonder if anyone actually reads all their wedding cards?” I said to Marnell on December 11.
There was wrapping paper everywhere and clutter and schedules we didn’t yet know what to do with and we just couldn’t absorb all the beautiful words. It did seem a shame though, that so many people had picked a beautiful wedding card up for us, signed it, and often added a few extra words, only to have us breeze over them.
We had arrived back from our honeymoon to a house knee-high in wedding decor, wedding gifts, and wedding clothes. We decided to go on a gift-opening marathon the day after we got back. It took about four hours but we did manage to open all of the gifts and document each one. But the cards, decked in glitter and ribbon and warm messages, looked like a skyscraper.
There is this problem with large tasks. They’re just too daunting. Don’t ask me when I last spring-cleaned my house, for instance. I couldn’t say it on social media, because if my grandma or my neighbor Mary or my friend Velinda caught wind of the truth, I would probably be forever banned from my family, my neighborhood and my church!
In fact the last time I talked to Mary about how often I do or don’t pull my stove forward to clean under it, she concluded by saying, “Don’t tell anyone, Katrina!” She does this task once a month. My grandma, in her eighties, has family come help her clean every now and then. When the girls arrive to start cleaning, she’ll often mention that she already pulled the washer and dryer forward and cleaned behind them, so it wouldn’t be too much work for the others. My friend Velinda will arrive home from an event on Friday night at 11, and pull out her vacuum and start cleaning house.
So I stand among the blades of grass, looking up at the dismally high bar, without considering multiple pounds that need to be lost and multiple teeth that should be flossed, music that should be played, books to read and write, clothes to buy and sew, menus to plan…
In Hello Mornings by Kat Lee (not me) she talks about making a goal that is so small that you almost can’t skip it. If you have a problem with flossing your teeth, you should start by flossing just one tooth, faithfully, every day. Don’t let yourself do more than one! It gives you too much liberty to say “I don’t have time tonight.” But who doesn’t have time to floss one tooth?
The key, I think, is that if you give yourself a step so small that you can truly do it every day, you gain courage. Then, when it begins to become a habit, you can expand.
My accountant brother used to talk about the broken window theory. Apparently it’s actually a theory about a ruined factory needing a huge amount of repair. The theory is that if you pick just one broken window and fix it, you set off a cascade of courage and soon the whole factory will be clean.
Well, that hasn’t happened at my house yet, but we did come up with an idea to deal with the stack of wedding cards. We read one every night!
Every time I fix the bed I put one on the pillow. I have the un-read stack and the read stack in the bedside stand so it’s easy to reach. It’s like getting a Valentine’s message every night, and we never don’t have enough time to read a few lines. Then we try to remember to pray for the person who gave us the card (my sister’s suggestion).
Well, before anyone comes with a flashlight to look for missing pets under my stove, I’ll have to work on how to apply my own advice. Do let me know if you have any additional tips for this department, and have a courageous week!