I am currently sitting crosslegged on my bed eating popcorn out of a pot with a spoon. The fan and the washer are whirring along with my brain as I try to decompress and think about sleep and rest instead of pressures. The popcorn helps.
This new year appeared really organized in my planner last week, but I have to say it’s felt a lot more like an emotional monsoon and repeated knocking of my head against a brick wall. I got four days behind in my online class due to technical difficulties. My friend vomited incessantly in the bathroom no matter what we tried to ease the morning sickness. The pots of food on the stove seemed to shrink in size with every unexpected guest. As much as I like to think I am adept at navigating new environments and tiny kitchens I have to say this week got me cornered, sitting on my bed eating popcorn so nothing worse happens.
I was giving my house a lick and a promise tonight when I hurriedly dumped the bag of rice into the jar and heard the sickening sound of hundreds of rice kernels flying everywhere but into the jar. I resignedly got the broom and pulled up the stove to catch them all.
As I was quickly wrapping things up with the image of a quiet few hours in my room with my bible, more friends arrived and the smallest member almost immediately turned the dial on my washer and reset my entire load of laundry. (You have to understand my Greek washer to understand my huff of exasperation.)
After she was properly scolded and cuddled and washed up, I opted to hold her and quickly read a few chapters of my book, resigned to an evening of chatter and noise. After she disembarked off my lap, I went into the kitchen and reeeeeeaaaached as far as my short self could stretch to grab the popcorn kernels on the top shelf. A split second later there was a deafening roar of terror (that previous sound of kernels flying), and I was standing stunned on my kitchen floor with popcorn kernels stuck in my hair, in the two bowls of soaking rice, all over the stove and beside the stove and under the stove, and covering the fruit basket.
I stood in a stupor for a few seconds but since I am a resilient human being I shook myself, watched another kernel go flying, and went for my weary broom. Some of the kernels went straight into the pot to pop, others into the trash, and a few lucky ones went back into the bag and were securely knotted and thrown to the top shelf.
That last paragraph is a lot like my last few weeks of January 2020. Me looking around at my well planned life in shambles and trying to put my one foot in front of the other to do the next best thing while desperately endeavoring to sweep things into order again.
I finished popping the corn and sprinkled on the nutritional yeast and salt. Before I could dive for refuge and quiet again, Eric popped in the door and said cheerfully, “I brought a friend!” And since I am sometimes a resilient human being like the rest of you, I shook myself and turned on the hot water for tea. Balancing baby girl and two cups of saffron tea with sugar, I emerged looking every bit like a frazzled cat and served tea like a good women, (with a kernel of corn still stuck in my hair that I just shook out).
If I would have knotted that little bag of popcorn, my life would have been easier tonight. If I would have taken a little more time dumping that rice into the jar, I could have avoided catastrophe. And even now I’m realizing if I would have taken a little more time resting before Jesus these past few weeks, my tongue would not have slipped in frustration and went flying like the kernels out of control; everywhere it wasn’t meant to go.
The moral of my story is not to store popcorn kernels on the top shelf of your pantry without knotting the bag. It is also not to panic when your 2020 plans are completely and absolutely turned upside down. Step back, analyze your life, and do the next best thing. Get on your knees to reorganize your priorities. And of course sit cross legged on your bed after you have escaped pressures and people, and eat a pot of popcorn with a big spoon.
The flying kernels today got me cleaning the grisly corners of my kitchen. Disordered plans can reveal a whole lot of internal sludge in the corners of my heart that need cleansing. If the kitchen and me can be cleansed in the process, I think I’ll just praise God and go to bed.