The Mind Plays Dirty, The Laundry is Clean

I’m in the business of thinking.  Positive thinking.  Both personally and professionally, I study, teach, and utilize the power of thoughts and words.  Yet still, my mind takes off like a dog in heat at the first scent of temptation.

At 19:00 hours, husband, anticipating the need to have sheets on the bed (he’s so clever), heads for the laundry basket full of clean sheets that was abandoned between the dryer and the bedroom earlier in the day.  It’s nowhere to be found.  We begin our repartee.  “I didn’t take the sheets.  They were right there.  Well I didn’t take them.  Where are they?” Given the witching hour and the Sunday night routine with three children, we quickly abandon our mystery for higher priorities.

Fast forward one hour.  I am knee deep in calendars, permission slips, and bills when 13 year old son casually enters with an announcement that the washing machine is broken.  Stuck actually, mid-cycle, and he needs to put his wash in lest he go to school naked in the morning.  With a hearty grunt and a few mumbled slurs, I begrudgingly head to the laundry closet, son in tow.  “Show me what you did!” I demand.  “Nothing,” he defends.  “I just…….”  Even louder now, I start accusing, “You opened the door mid-cycle?!  You’re supposed to press cancel and……”  There is no stopping me.  I ramble on with should have’s and could have’s and a variety of accusations and put-downs.

You see, I was exhausted, and my mind was racing.  Like the dog who breaks through the fence and runs like the wind down the street.  I was on fire with blame, picturing a very busy week ahead with too many scheduled activities, work obligations, and other stresses – without a washing machine! Perish the thought!

My inner dialogue went something like this, ‘How much will this cost?!  Why do I let my kids touch the washing machine?  He’s always breaking things.  Who do I call on a Sunday night?  Are there emergency washing machine people?  I don’t have time for this!’  In 30 seconds I had created an imaginary disaster of epic proportions.  Truly, I had a headache from how loud my mind was screaming in fear.

Wait, are those my sheets in the wash?  Where did those come from?  You, my son, put them in for me?  You didn’t know they were already clean and wanted to surprise me?  Before you did your own laundry?!

Long pause.  Make way for regret.

Still somewhat angry at the current predicament, but having paused long enough in my verbal and mental shouting to allow myself to think, I decide to unpulg the machine and hope it will reset.  It does, and I am able to complete the wash.

My son, bless his little heart, is impressed with my technical prowess – and relieved that his head is out of the guillotine.  I too, am relieved, but also horrified by my abominable response to a non-critical situation.  ‘Why did my emergency meter skyrocket?  Why did I let my mind run wild?  I know better than that.  I’m so ashamed.’

A quick chuckle escapes as I realize that even now, in the self-recrimination, my mind is playing dirty.  “End it!”  I hear the ‘other’ voice command.  “Put a leash on that wild dog and get control.”

I oblige and turn my focus to what really matters – my son.  I offer sincere apologies.  “I didn’t mean to yell.  It was a nice thing you did and very responsible.  I was just upset…..”  To which he replies, “I know, Mom.  I still love you.”

Thankfully, someone does, because I’m not lovin’ the me that showed up in the laundry closet tonight.  “Sit, girl. Good dog. Now stay!”

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