July 7, 2016
When my husband is out of town I like to redecorate our house. In the four years we have been married he has come to expect this- any time he is out of town for work or grad school it's a pretty sure bet that he will come home to a rearranged living room. This month- he was out of town for two weeks and when he came home I had changed up the curtains in the guest bedroom and moved most of the furniture in our kitchen to another room. At the end of my rearranging frenzy, there was one floor lamp that no longer had a place, so I put it in the middle of our bedroom floor. At first I thought this would remind me to donate it or put it in the basement for storage, but as the days passed I got really good at working around the lamp and eventually ignoring its presence.
I spent two weeks with this lamp laying in the middle of the bedroom floor, walking around it to do laundry, jumping over it to get to the closet- and the longer I procrastinated getting rid of it, the more it became part of the scenery and the less it bothered me.
Of course, when my husband got home he immediately tripped over the lamp. When asked why there was a lamp in the middle of the floor, I mumbled that I just hadn’t had time to deal with it. Two minutes later he had put the lamp in the basement and the problem was solved.
Lamps are not the only objects I allow myself to get used to. There are plenty of work habits, life habits, and relationship habits that I procrastinate in dealing with, and in my procrastination they become a permanent part of my internal scenery. It often takes an outside perspective to help me problem solve.
People in our work community, faith community, and family are primed to help point out these “internal floor lamps”, and we should each take the time to invite others into our processes (at work, at home, in our marriages), so that we can help each other grow and problem solve as a community.