Tuesday, December 05, 2006


We had a leaking pipe under the slab of our house. You know, the kind where you end up with strangers in your closet when you only thought they were going to be in your bathroom.

It started about a week ago with a warm wet spot on the carpet in front of my sink. I rubbed our schnauzer’s nose in it, sprayed it with disinfectant, and blotted it up. It came back. The dog was outside.

It took five days for a plumber to get here, break the slab, and fix the leak. Now there’s a hole in the cabinet floor, no carpet on my side of the bathroom, and huge turbo fans pointed at the bare concrete.

I didn’t know the carpet in the closet got wet, too. Actually, just sort of in the doorway of the closet. But I didn’t clean the closet out like I did the bathroom cabinet. Which means the two very nice young men who worked for us today got a glimpse of what my life is really like.

Shelves sagging with old tax returns and boxes of keepsakes. A huge, impractical bag from Mexico. Tons and tons of old photos in shoeboxes. A basket of dirty laundry. A half dozen turtlenecks that I can’t tolerate wearing anymore, but am afraid to throw out. In case, you know, I change my mind about strangling. A pile of pajamas and workout clothes and swimsuits and stuff that I really don’t have a place for. At least they were on a shelf and not on the floor.

Don’t misunderstand. The floor is a cluttered mess, too. The whole thing looks like a tornado struck. Frankly, it’s a place where I can throw everything I’m indecisive about. A place where I can tell myself I’ll deal with it later. A private place to keep my dirty and not so dirty secrets.

It embarrassed me that these kindly carpet strangers saw my closet today. But they were professional about it, and we all acted like it didn’t matter.

I’m often just as embarrassed when kindly friends see what’s really inside my own heart. There’s a lot of clutter there. And maybe that’s normal and maybe it’s not, but I can tell you, it’s often not pretty. Thankfully, I have help in cleaning it out—God help, that is.

I’m kind of starting to like the whole transparency thing—blogging, for example—for a couple of reasons. First of all, it means I have to do something about the mess inside (accountability). Secondly, I’m discovering that there are a lot of others who’re hanging on to some of the same things in their heart-closets, and somehow we find mutual encouragement in the sharing.

And we’re all being wonderfully unprofessional about it and acting like it matters.

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