The Hardest Thing First

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.


4 thoughts on “The Hardest Thing First

  1. Brenda

    What a striking image! And inspiring! Time to finally address those drawers crammed full of papers and photographs…. (from a confirmed procrastinator).

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      Brenda — thank you. I’m working up to it. Believe me, my day will come! You inspire me!

  2. Ruth Roberts

    When you’re ready to do it, I’ll come help you. Many hands make light work. I once was told to get rid of things I don’t want to make room for what I do. Maybe that will inspire you.

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      The heaviness of this work relates not to its size but to its emotional impact, which I likely will have to face alone. And in the fullness of time. But thank you.


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