The old adage of “when it rains, it pours” is a way of describing when something negative happens, other negative things happen at the same time.
At my house, when it rained, the bathroom ceiling dripped water.
Upon further review from multiple professionals, it wasn’t just a leak to be sealed, it was an improperly installed metal roof that came with the house. So we got a new roof – 45 years sooner than planned!
It’s a noisy affair getting a new roof. While the humans of my family were all out of the house for most of the commotion, the cats were inside, clawing their way into our mattress box springs to hide from what sounded like the end of the world, and yes, soiling our living room furniture.
After an unsuccessful spray and scrub, the professional cleaners came. Instead of washing away the stink of it all, we were informed the furniture was beyond repair. Away went the soft seating and out came the folding chairs.
Then, after having the insulation folks come out to replace the wet stuff from the leak with new fluffy rolls of pink, we got the news that we had mold that had to be eliminated first. Ugh.
I share this not to gain sympathy or hear a kind word.
I share it because it sucks! And I’m not out of the messy middle yet.
It’s something I’m dealing with in addition to my duties as a full-time professional, wife, mom, and part-time business owner. It weighs on me as we figure out how to pay for the unplanned expense of it all. It’s depressing, as I worry that a new sofa may meet the same fate as the last one. It’s frustrating as the thousands of dollars I’ve paid in homeowners insurance don’t cover a nickel of this.
The whole pile of problems leaves me feeling worn – from managing the logistics of the contractors to the debate over new furniture vs. used, to some VERY mixed feelings about the guilty cat.
Our family has a warm, safe, place to call home.
We had emergency funds set aside for such an occasion.
We can still have family movie night on folding chairs.
So I’m choosing to be thankful, to celebrate our investment in a mold-free attic and our new roof that keeps us dry, and to be grateful for our faithful folding chairs that will eventually be tucked away again (hopefully before Thanksgiving).
Let’s take it to work
I like when Brene Brown talks about the messy middle in her book Rising Strong. It’s the part of the story that we skip over in favor of getting to the resolution. It’s the cancer battle, the kid’s learning struggles, the search for care for parents, the marriage counseling – all things we want desperately to skip to get to the resolution.
I share my messy middle because someone you know is in one. They are bringing it to work whether they say anything or not. Here are some ways you can help others have a better work week:
- If you have a performer who’s not performing, get curious instead of angry.
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself what one small thing you could do today, like deciding on the next step. And do that the next day, and next.
- Imagine the end state you want. The position, the decision, the product launch – what does it look, feel, and sound like? With my situation above, it was imagining movie nights with our family gathered comfortably together as it poured down rain, and we didn’t worry about any more roof leaks!
I know we hesitate to share these moments with others, because our mess may feel small to those who have it so much worse. But there’s no need for comparative suffering – I know there are WAY worse things going on than my lack of living room furniture! But I also know that the small things weigh us down, and will keep us down if we don’t engage with messy middle and move toward resolution.
Cheers to the mess, and the coming resolution. I’m with you!