Monday, July 23, 2012

How is chemo like a leaky washing machine?

Sometimes I whine. Not often, but when I do it comes in droves.
When I whine, it's almost always about something small or insignificant. For some reason I tend to handle the major issues in life in stride. It's the more trivial things that can trip me up.

This new chemo has evoked some whining...

I broke out with a "rash" that bears a startling resemblance to pretty bad acne all over my face and neck and head. It's not real pretty and its getting uncomfortable. My scalp itches but is painful to the touch, so you can't scratch it. My face is dry, cracking, and painful to the touch.

Add on top of that I've been pretty exhausted this week, for insurance reasons I'm unable to do my treatments from Muskegon and must make the trip to Chicago again tonight! All this adds up to me having a bad attitude this week.

I know, it's pretty weak to be upset about all this, when I really feel decent. No puking, no diarrhea, no pain, nothing severe, just inconveniences.

A couple years ago my washing machine started leaking. I discovered it because the carpet was wet all the way into the hallway. We're not talking about a little drip; it was dumping the entire load of water onto the floor. We almost floated out of our house. There was water in the crawlspace, in and under the carpet... it was everywhere!

I looked, probed, and problem solved. I pulled the dryer out of the bathroom and set it up outside on the porch and no leak! I ripped open the carpet, dug holes in the wall wondering if it was a leaky pipe. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't find the source of the water. Meanwhile we weren't doing a lot of laundry.

At my wit's end, I finally called the repair man. As he pulled off the shell and opened up the machine, we looked and watched and still couldn't find the leak. That made me feel better that a professional was struggling as much as I was until we discovered the problem...

Somehow in my diligence I overlooked the drain hose. It had not been pushed far enough into the drain pipe in the wall and so when the machine drained it's tub, the water basically went straight onto the floor!

How could I have overlooked such a simple solution? How could I not see the obvious? Why did I have to pay the repairman to come out and make me feel stupid?

I was looking at the wrong thing. I was focused on the actual machine and the pipes in the wall. I never thought about the connection of the drain hose to the pipes. That was too simple, too small to go wrong.  My focus was on the wrong thing.

When a crisis hits, our first reaction is often to pray. We reach out to our compassionate and merciful father as a child does. The need is great, and we don't think we can get through it so we cry out for help.

What about when we stub our toe? Why do the little things often trip us up when we can respond so well to the big things? We're focused on the wrong thing. My attitude problem this week didn't come because of acne and fatigue. It came because I was focused on my circumstances and not on my creator.

Proverbs three gives me a convicting commandment, I'm told to submit to God in "all your ways".

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

I wish sometimes I could slide on the small stuff. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. "All" leaves no cracked doors for me to sneak out of obedience.

As you go about your day, make sure you've got the right perspective. If you find yourself irritated with your circumstances, maybe you need to look in the mirror before you look outward.


33bbhair33 said...


Gayle Manning said...

Oh, yes, there are a lot of things in life that we overlook. From a leaky washing machine to major life crises, we sometimes fail to look at the problem in another light. The important thing, however, is that we learn from those mistakes. Anyway, how are you holding up? I hope you have survived this crisis with a smile. :D

Gayle Manning