Monday, May 24, 2010

Flushed with Grief

I spent several days this past week at a conference for pastors held on a college campus. The campus was lovely, the conference inspiring and the company good. I'm glad I went. The accommodations were in the dorm rooms on campus. Let's just say it's been a LONG time since I've been in a dorm room. The 10 x 8 room was "decorated" with two twin beds, two desks and an overhead florescent light. The bathroom was located down the hall. For someone who is used to hotel living this "communal" bathroom was quite a shock. Maybe I'm spoiled. Maybe I'm just sheltered. Let's just say I am quite fond of having my own bathroom. I seem to be unable to be "chatty" with people when wearing nothing but a towel and a mouth full of toothpaste. I'm not able to focus on the conversation with wet hair and mascara in hand. Some things really require our full attention. I know we've passed laws against driving and texting or phoning. Perhaps we should consider a law prohibiting all talking in communal bathrooms. It's worth consideration.
Truth be told, chatty is not a word I would use to describe me anytime before 9am. David and I would get up and dressed and out the door in the morning without speaking anything other than a mumbled, "mornin" as we passed in the hall. And though we shared a bathroom we made sure we were never in it at the same time. So my experience with dorm life was quite disturbing for me. The other ladies seem to take it in stride so clearly the problem is entirely me. (I'm willing to own that)
The other part of the communal bathroom that seemed to leave me a bit "on edge" was the automatic flushers. Have you ever experienced one of these contraptions? I know I have from time to time at other public facilities but the ones in the dorm were... well.... over-eager. I closed the door on the stall, sat down and then leaned forward to reach for the paper dispenser - FLUSH. I leaned back (mostly in shock from the first flush)- FLUSH. I took a deep breath and tried to focus on the "job at hand"- FLUSH. I attempted to finish as quickly as possible and leave (more like running for my life!)- FLUSH. I assumed that I had just picked the wrong place and on subsequent trips used a different stall only to experience -FLUSH. FlUSH. FLUSSSH.
Most disturbing! I felt the need to take a shower - again - after using these hair-trigger contraptions. Really! Some things ought to be done personally - NOT automatically. There are some things in life that we really need to give personal attention to and not attempt to delegate to someone else. The bathroom is one of those things.
I was so glad to be back home in my "low-tech" facilities. Some things just need our personal attention. Lesson learned.

Such is grief. It really can't be delegated to others or put on "automatic controls". It requires our personal attention. No one can grieve for me and only I can know the when and wheres of moving forward - or not. Grief is an extremely personal thing; best done by the hand and heart of the one grieving.

I believe those automatic flushers were invented to prevent the mess caused by folks who didn't give attention to their own "issues". We must attend to our grief - ignoring it will cause quite a mess. Some things are just done best in person. There is no such thing as an "automatic griever". So as messy as is might be at times let's determine to handle our own grief in our own way by our own hand in our own time.

I realize this analogy is a bit "stinky" and brings the term, "bathroom humor" to a whole new level. Sorry, but this is my experience this week. Let's just say I am so glad to be home! I'm handling my own grief with great care. Not gonna let others rush me or circumstances overwhelm me. I'm handling it with care, and time, and prayer. How about you?


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