The other night I made dinner for some friends.
I don’t know if any of you can relate to this or not, but my mother instilled in me that your house is clean when you have company. So my house was, unsurprisingly, not clean before that night. I’ve mentioned before – I’m a little bit messy.
I came home from work and knew I needed to make a lasagna (from scratch, hashtag BOOM), salad, bread, and dessert, and clean my house. Knowing I had less than three hours, I surveyed the damage and cleaned the rooms I knew would be used. Closed doors and cabinets became my best friend.
I vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the bathroom, picked up, swapped fresh flowers for New Year’s decorations, and got rid of left over confetti from a party. I also started shoving things in rooms, closets, and cabinets. Pulled the shower curtain as tightly as I could, and made the house look pretty impressive.
About 45 minutes before everyone got there, I realized, my fish was sitting on top of the desk in the entry way. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Except, well, my fish died. Awhile ago. It was in a covered small tank so it didn’t smell. And I get super squeamish when dealing with dead things. I hyperventilated when the last one died and I tried to scoop it out.
I knew I couldn’t leave my dead fish in the entry way. I knew my brother would immediately pick up on it and call me out. I frantically looked for a place to put it. And then realized I had an empty cabinet. I opened the cabinet up, shoved the whole tank in side of it, and slammed it shut.
When my friends came over I told them not to look in the cabinets or the behind the shower curtain. One of them, Greg, gave me a knowing sideways glance and had an impish grin that I figured meant he was probably going to open them. I said something about dead fish the cabinets and everyone laughed. Well, except for me.
Dinner was fun and full of rich conversation (and cheese) and I quickly put my mind to ease that only the best of my entertaining abilities were seen. I had pulled off showing the best of who I was to people I wanted to impress. Little did they know there really was a dead fish in the cabinet above my refrigerator.
After they left, my roommate, her boyfriend, my friend Katie, and I were all talking and I brought up the dead fish. They legitimately did not believe me until Larry opened the cabinet. “RACH! THERE IS A DEAD FISH IN HERE!” he loudly proclaimed. “Uh…. I know? I told you guys!” My roommate was in disbelief. Larry disposed of the dead fish. Quickly. After we all had a good laugh about it, it got me thinking.
What are the dead fish that I’m hiding in the rest of my life? Granted I’m learning that I pretty much tell the whole story of who I am to anyone but there are always dead fish in our lives. We’re so good at shoving clothes, dishes, decorations, jackets, books, etc into closets to make it look like we’ve got it together.
What if we all started living lives that actually showed how much we don’t have it together? What if we all lived out our stories for everyone to see? What if our backstage mess became center stage in the drama of our lives? How do you think that would change the way we interact with each other?
I want to challenge you this week to open the cabinets and the doors in your life. Be who you are. Tell your story. Especially the messy parts. The hard parts. The parts that you’re not even sure about.
Even if it’s just once.