Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweeping Up the Shards

I knew the glass was going to hit the tile floor long before it did.
It moved almost as if in slow motion.

I had finally decided to do the dishes because, let's face it, I only decide to do them if things are growing. (Ok, ok. It's not that bad, but I really really hate doing the dishes.)
Because there were so many, I had to wash a few glasses and put them in the dish rack. Those things are made to hold glasses, right? They even have the little pokey things on the outside to put extra glasses to dry! Perfect.

I had almost lost this particular glass already on this day. Counter space was hard to come by in my little apartment kitchen, and the glass apparently did not enjoy being placed so precariously on top of other glasses, bowls, and pans right beside my fridge.

I caught it then before it hit the ground.
The second time I wasn't so quick.

I turned around from the pantry and watched it slide
off the dish rack handle ever so slowly.
That heavy glass was no match for the
flimsy plastic of my lovely red dish rack.
There was no use in reaching my hand out to even try to catch it. All I could do was jump back to protect myself from the shards of glass about to take over my tiny kitchen floor.

I sighed and reached for the broom.
At least I wasn't attached to this set of hand-me-down glasses.
I began to sweep up the bits of glass, light reflecting off each piece.

I was impatient, though. Ready to get back to the one chore I hate the most just so it could be over. As I bent down to grab my dust pan, I noticed a small twinkling of light. And then another.

Tiny little shards I had missed with my broom.

Sighing again, I did a more thorough sweep. I was barefoot, after all. I didn't want this to end in injury.

Far too often than not, the first sweep through is
exactly how I handle my relationships. 

A glass breaks. A harsh word is spoken.
A friend leaves. A request is ignored.

As I watch something fragile in my life break into many pieces, I grab the broom to sweep it all away. I have the one conversation. I reach out for a little while. I let them hear part of my heart.

But then I walk away, leaving tiny shards of glass all over the kitchen floor of my friendship.

When it comes right down to it, I don't care enough about myself, the friendship, or the other person to get down on the floor and make sure I get every last piece of glass. I get scared so I just leave it. Good enough, right?

Fast forward six months. Or a year. Or two years. Walking barefoot through the kitchen of my friendship, I step on a forgotten shard. Just because the big pieces were removed doesn't make the little pieces hurt any less. In fact, the surprise of those little, forgotten pieces possibly hurts more than those huge pieces I discarded immediately. After time and time again of stepping on the small pieces, I stop walking barefoot and start carrying a broom with me, lugging it around into every friendship as a constant reminder that no floor can be trusted.

But what would happen if I was thorough? What would happen if I swept everything away the first try? If I had those hard conversations letting my friends know they had hurt me or apologizing because I know I hurt them? If I consistently reached out to a distant friend, not letting distance litter my floor with bigger and bigger pieces of glass?

I think it's possible I could be barefoot again. I could feel comfortable without a broom in my hand for every relationship.

As I was thinking about writing this post this morning, I realized one of the most tragic things about this scenario: I do this with God. 

I hide my frustrations, my anxieties, my hurts from the Creator of my soul because I'm too lazy to get on my hands and knees to sweep up the shards that are piercing my heart and life. And for what gain? A few more minutes on Facebook? More time napping so I can ignore my problems?

Two days ago I cautiously entered the kitchen created for my God and I, broom in hand. I wearily looked around because it had been too long since I'd been gone. Who knew how many pieces of glass were waiting to cut my tender feet? 

But I decided it has been long enough. So for now I'm carrying my broom and sweeping up each tiny shard so that in the future I can put my broom down and enjoy a nice dance party in my kitchen with my God.

What shards of glass have you left unnoticed in your friendships? 
With God?


Jessica Wright said...

Well written thoughts Karissa! I saw the link on my fb homepage and I'm a blog reading junkie so had to stop and read ;) Good post. Really honest and vulnerable. Maybe writing is how we pick up broken pieces sometimes...

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog tonight from another blog, and I want to say that it touched me. I pray that you take the words that you wrote, and you pray on them and act as God would want you to. Don't pick and choose the shards to sweep up, but remember them all. It may not mean mending each broken friendship to make it new, but at least making the effort on ones that you might have given up on for reasons you thought were right. Remember that in each friendship there were and are two people. You may feel that you have done the right thing, but there is always the other person out there, wondering how they can attempt to mend the fence.