Learning the Fine Art of Muddling

The dishwasher had malfunctioned, flooding our house all night as we slept. We didn’t know until one of our sleepy-eyed children came into our bedroom early in the morning and said, “Mom and Dad! It’s raining in the basement!”
The room tha...t was hardest hit was the storage room where we’d recently carefully stacked and dated our pride and joy, a two-year supply of food. In a mad dash to save anything we could, every member of our family hauled each bucket and box out into the back yard to dry out. It took hours.

Just when we finished, we heard a clap of thunder, looked up, and felt several drops splash in our eyes. Then the heavens were opened and the few drops immediately became a downpour. We regrouped and quickly hauled our soggy mess into the garage.

When we finally got every box and bucket into the garage, my son came running to me in tears, informing me his pet rabbit was dead. After finally getting the children off to school, my daughter called from campus saying she couldn’t remember where she’d parked the car at BYU. Then my other first-grader had an accident that required a change of clothing. You get the picture.

“I can’t handle any more,” I said to my husband.

“You don’t have to handle it,” my husband replied. “There’s no rule book somewhere that says you have to go through life handling everything. Just muddle, Jan. I’ve been muddling for years and no one can tell the difference.”

Muddle, I thought. I think I can muddle.

Now every time I’m feeling overwhelmed, I remember my husband’s timely advice. Frankly, I’ve been muddling ever since and so far no one can tell the difference, just like he promised.

Muddling is not mediocrity. Muddling is a relaxed state of mind that allows us to stop trying to "handle" everything that life sends our way. Muddling is knowing that the only thing we are in charge of is how we respond to what life hands us. Muddling stops the self-battering that tells us we’ll never measure up or be good enough. Muddling is accepting our humanness and inadequacies. Muddling is knowing that we all have good days and not so good days. And muddling is never giving up hope that things will work out.
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1 comment:

shirlgirl said...

I can't even imagine!! This must have happened years go when your children were small. I go along with your husband about muddling along. Rome wasn't built in a day, and we can only do so much--we do what we can and what doesn't get done will wait for us. Loved your post.