I don’t know who helped my son to be so smart. Years ago, in his childhood, he used to tell me that I should do the hardest thing first. Chores before games, pay bills before buying toys, call the bill-collector before calling my friend, face reality instead of laying my weary head on a pillow and fading into oblivion.
I think he learned this from either Magda Helmuth, his pre-school teacher, or Punky Thomas, his elementary school teacher. These women shaped my son in ways for which I will always be humbly grateful.
It’s a hard lesson for me to honor. I shove photographs in cupboards rather than throw them away despite the finality of the doors closed on what they depict. I accumulate ill-fitting clothes, cabinets full of dishes that I no longer need or use, drawers chock full of God-knows-what. I have a piece of oak furniture in my office which needs to be repaired but I don’t want to rummage through its contents.
This journey has peeled away rotting layer after rotting layer. One of these days, I’m going to face those hardest things. The thought of glorious light streaming outward when the last layer of decay finally falls away thrills me. I’m not there yet. But soon. Soon.
It’s the twenty-ninth day of the thirty-first month of My [Never-Ending] Year Without Complaining. Life continues.