It’s the little things. They start off small and, if tended to at the time, or remedied beforehand, they would surely stay that way. Small. Unimportant. Unnoticed.
This isn’t one of those things.
In fact, this problem has grown to epidemic, gargantuan proportions. A nationwide problem, affecting each and every one of our hardworking citizens yet, at the same time, ignored en masse by our mainstream media outlets. Daily, ongoing, ultimately touching us all.
I’m of course talking about the incessant hunger of our nations clothes-drying machines for one, and typically only one, of a matched pair of our most comfy, cozy, favority socks. Yes, socks! Don’t laugh like you don’t know. It affects each of us. Everyone, at one time or another, has lost a well-worn, beloved member of our favorite footwear family to these gluttonous machines disguising as laundered convenience yet secretly harboring a voracious appetite.
How many times have we all gone to the Laundromat or the utility room and hauled out our blessedly warm, clean-smelling undergarments, lovingly separating, folding, and stacking them into assorted piles only to discover one, unmatched, abandoned little sock; fraught, distressed. Lonely for its missing mate.
You eye the dryer suspiciously while it sits there, polite and innocent, its gaping mouth open in a challenging invitation to search to your little heart’s content. You know full well the sock will never be found in such an obvious place as the dryer well; you’ve already looked there twice as it is. The lint catch? No, not there either. The floor? Nope. Fear of the inevitable sets in. Finally you give up, and with a heavy heart you place the lone sock gently on top of the other laundry; a place of honor and remembrance as you carry the load up to your bedroom to put away. As you leave, you can almost hear the dryer laughing at you behind your back.
The problem is, you may never find your single missing sock again. And it isn’t the first time. In fact, your sock drawer is lined all across the bottom with brightly patterned, neon colored socks that—when worn in pairs as was God’s intention—set you apart from the crowd: A bold fashion statement that screams, “I AM AN INDIVIDUAL!”
Now, to wear two entirely different fashion statements only screams, “I AM…WEIRD!”
…And, my dryer’s tummy is getting full.
What to do? What to do?
To me, this type of everyday annoyance speaks to a larger issue of our tendency to put up with the little, daily irritations, even if they endlessly stack up in our sock drawers. Just one more in a series of seemingly unavoidable certainties of life, like spilling ketchup on your white shirt or having the buttered-side of your toast fall face down onto the floor. It just happens. Inevitable. Irritating.
But what might possibly come to pass if you took to viewing the problem a little more sideways? What if you tried to look at solving the issue not through the initially gratifying yet ultimately pointless starving of your dryer, but in changing said dryer’s diet? What if, instead of buying that one pair of high fashion, neon-orange, alpaca hair socks, you bought several pair of them??
That way, when the hunger pangs of the dryer strike again—and you know they will—instead of being down to only one neon-orange, alpaca hair sock, you’ve still got seven more!!
No more, “I AM…WEIRD!” Only endless days of, “I LOVE NEON ORANGE ALPACAS!”
Sometimes, the most elusive solutions are the most simple. Instead of not being able to see the forest for the trees, there are too often times when we can’t see the trees for the forest! Sometimes the solution is the forest itself. Sometimes it’s just that one tree, with the low branches growing out at just the right height; that one ideal tree with the perfect foliage and the straight-and-true trunk. We’ve looked at that tree any number of times while viewing the forest, but we’ve never quite seen it “that” way: as the solution, hidden right there in plain sight.
Maybe you’ve got an inevitable, daily annoyance that you’ve chalked up to just one more in the series of unavoidable certainties of life. Maybe you have a sock drawer full of colorful orphans that you’ll never wear but, even individually, they hold way too much sentimentality to simply throw out. Maybe it’s time for you to scream, “I LOVE NEON ORANGE ALPACAS!” and buy your favorite fashion-statement socks in bulk.
Maybe it’s time to see the tree amidst the forest. After all, who couldn’t use one less inevitable, daily annoyance in their life?
Here’s some ideas and questions for thought: Keep an informal journal with you throughout this next week and write down one or more of the “inevitable, daily annoyances” you’ve been putting up with in your life. If there ends up being more than one, how many did you eventually write down? Does that number surprise you? Why, or why not?
And a couple more questions: Is it easier to spot the “inevitable, daily annoyances” in the life of a friend or family member rather than your own? Why do you suppose that is? Are there situations in your relationship with your significant other that you would put under the category of “inevitable, daily annoyances”? How long have you been “putting up” with those? Why do you suppose that is, and how can you graciously seek to resolve those situations?
(this is a small part of a recent ghostwriting project I completed for an upcoming inspirational/self-help book that I’ll post a link to as soon as it’s published)