Sometimes, it’s the smallest victories that taste the sweetest.
It was only a plate. A single solitary plate sitting in the bottom of the sink. How could such a ordinary, commonplace picture evoke such a genuine, spontaneous grin on my face? How could diningware of the plastic variety bring me such joy?
It’s simple. It wasn’t just a plate that I was staring at in my sink, but a victory. That plate carried proddings, pressure, and patience that spanned across eleven years!
Perhaps you’ve guessed already – that plate belonged to my son; my giant, eleven year old baby boy. Who, upon finishing his bedtime snack, took his own plate to the sink. Not a miracle, of course! I DO have perspective. But a victory nonetheless!
As I peered into the sink, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the long line of abandoned, dirty, nutella smeared plates that never made it to the sink. Often discovered on the counter, or the stove, distractingly disposed of on a detour to another task. I giggled as I recalled my exasperation and the many protestations that “things will NEVER change”. This plate was proof that things do, indeed, change. Where once it seemed impossible to measure improvements, now showed a giant leap that was painfully won one millimetre (and reminder) at time.
Upon reflection, I couldn’t help but realize that this lone blue plastic plate in the bottom of my sink provided me with a perfect metaphor for the journey have I been on in the last couple of years. There have been so many moments where I wanted to give up my fight for wholeness and health. There were many days where improvement seemed impossible. Day by day, I wondered if things were actually changing or if the journey I was on was proving futile!
As I reflected on the past couple of years, I began to see that, just like teaching my son to take his plate to the sink, change in my life and mood required patience and endurance. I had to persevere through the low and shaky ground. There weren’t any special words, magic spells, or simple solutions that would instantly change my situation. Just as there wasn’t anything I could do or say to instantly change my son’s behavior and have him always remember to take his plate to the sink on his own. It is only as I have inched my way through time, confronting patterns, being gently reminded of healthy thought processes, that a new way of life and thinking has begun to emerge. My struggles over time dissipate and I learn to not only survive but thrive in this life that I’ve been given.
I’m hoping it’s not always going to be so much work! But just as it was with my son, slowly, over time, rigid instruction became a simple request, and a simple request, grew into a gentle reminder now and then, and the gentle reminder grew into one beautiful victorious plate after another.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks TODAY for the simple, small but sweet victory in the form of a blue plastic plate in my sink!
How far we’ve come!
Becoming Ordinary: Year 1 Day 60