There’s currently a man I barely know, kneeling down in the most private area of my home. He’s there by request, installing a toilet. I’m sitting in the kitchen, hiding at my laptop. I can’t bring myself to face him.
First of all, I don’t want to be the hover-client, hanging around while he does his work. Jim’s a certified master plumber, so he knows what the heck he’s doing. Me standing there like an idiot isn’t likely to aid his process.
But the real reason I don’t want to face him is because he’s fixing my toilet. And I don’t mean that in some snotty, he’s-a-laborer-so-I’m-better-than-him way; I mean it in the sense of he’s working in a place that very few people go. He’s getting to see a part of my daily life that even I don’t examine all that much.
We keep our bathrooms clean (well, as clean as you can keep them when you have a 5 year old boy), but when you take a potty apart you’re getting into spaces to which most folks don’t attend. It’s invasive.
Which makes it uncomfortable.
He’s already found several problems we didn’t anticipate, and he’s doing his best to fix them. But the fact that he found them – even though they were hidden from me and not things I could’ve identified or fixed with my limited knowledge – means imperfection was present in my life and I couldn’t discover it on my own.
Which makes me uncomfortable.
It’s a great big metaphor for life, I suppose. We often have to invite people into the most sacred places of our lives and ask them to poke around, if only because they have a perspective different than ours. With a fresh point of view, a different pair of eyes, they see things we wouldn’t know to otherwise look for. They help us solve the problems we didn’t really know we had.
We could choose to keep our heads in the sand, pretend like everything’s okay, and keep chugging along until our metaphorical toilet backs up and spews ugliness all over our lives. But that would just make us dumb.
Sometimes we have to let people in to do what’s necessary. And if that means we hide in the kitchen just to survive, so be it.
The goal is coming out better on the other side.