humanity on the kitchen counter

to be honest, i feel as though i write about the same four or five topics over and over and over again here. slowing down, living with intention, grace, and empathy, and embracing counter cultural life styles are my “issues du jour,” it seems. 
this post is no different. i’ve likely written many others with the same exact message. same. exact. and yet, i need to write it. again.
it never ceases to amaze me, the burdens that people shoulder. the checker at the market, the fedex driver, the pediatrician, the salesperson who calls on your office. the student who sits in your classroom and the cop who pulls you over for speeding. the security worker who goes through your bag at a sporting event and the drummer from your favorite band. everyone carries burdens. shoulders stuff. pushes through.
what’s amazing to me is not that we all suffer and struggle and strive. what’s amazing is that we seem to know so little about the struggles of those around us. how can it be, in today’s “over sharing” and self promoting culture, that we continue to feel afraid of both being truly exposed and of sitting with others in their most vulnerable spaces?
a song lyric laments, “we’re all one phone call from our knees.” isn’t this the truth? a phone call, a disclosure, a realization, an honest conversation with ourself or with another. any of these can lay us low in an instant.
and this is not a bad thing.
pain and suffering are real. they are part of the human experience. so much of the time, however, we love to perpetuate the falsity that we are above the struggle. assuming that our vulnerabilities, fears, inadequacies, or failures make us unlovable and unworthy we hide them away, like stashing our dirty dishes in the bathtub when company’s coming and we don’t have time to wash them. 
the reality is, however, that our company has likely seen dirty dishes before. in fact, they may have some on the counter in their own house. what a relief it would be to see that your dishes get dirty too. that you don’t always have everything tidy and put away. that you eat. and make messes. and don’t clean them up immediately. that you are a person. real. human.
as we move through our days might we ask ourselves where we can afford to take new relational risks, living honestly and inviting others to do so as well. nothing is more compelling than honesty and nothing is freer either. my flawed humanity invites yours which in turn invites mine and so on. perhaps, if i leave the dishes out, we can do them together...


  1. beautifully said. it is true that the dishes on the counter represent so well how we move in relationships. haven't i been known to stuff dirty dishes in the oven? yep, and what was i trying to do but show "them" someone else, not me...trying to impress? as if that is really important at all. oh the things we think are important....to other people. dirty dishes on the counter, not so much. thankyou!!

  2. it's so true how little we know about others' struggles. i need to think long and hard about what these new conversations will look like in my life.

  3. We can only hyper share, but we are cautioned against "over sharing" which apparently is code for "being honest". I think both sharing and listening are counter cultural. Of course healthy boundaries are still good, but I know it's a lot easier for me to keep things light. Relational risk is in some ways the very scariest kind of risk. I think there are a lot of base jumping adrenaline junkies that probably don't have the courage to tell someone how they feel. We humans are a funny lot. Thanks for the thoughts and reminder that one of the deeper risks is something so simple, and scary.