Friday, July 12, 2013

Just Stop

Dear Christa—
I think a key for me is to just know when to stop. 
We were one night at home between a trip to Illinois and a trip to New Mexico. As I was doing laundry, I put on a pan of sugar water to fill up the hummingbird feeders and went about my business. As I was folding laundry upstairs, I could smell a sweet odor coming through the front windows. “I wonder what someone is grilling to smell so sweet?” I thought.
When I finished folding clothes, I started down the stairs. Half way down I could see the smoke billowing through the house and Jay sitting in the middle of it all—smoke wafting all around him—as he stared intently into the laptop screen, working on a DVD. “Something is burning! Something is burning!” I shouted, as I galloped down the stairs.
The pan was burnt to a crisp; the downstairs was filled with smoke, and not a fire alarm one had gone off, even though there are two close to the kitchen. Jay looked up and said, “I thought someone was making smores.”

I glared at the pan of blackness, a pan that I probably use more than any other. I thought I knew how to deal with it: poured ammonia over a paper towel, stuffed it in a plastic bag and sat it outdoors and went to Albuquerque the next morning.
Sometime after we returned, I looked at the pan, and it looked just the same. I got on the handy dandy Internet and tried nearly every solution, except to use drain cleaner, which I am just not doing.
So, this morning I decided that it’s time to just stop—maybe not throw it away, but at least to set it aside. Sometimes I need to admit when enough is enough, at least for now.
Summer is half over, and I could keep on scrubbing on this old pot, but some things in life just need to be put away. I keep at them through pride or habit, and that is not wise. When it gets right down to it, we should consider what we spend our time on. Some things are worth it; some things aren’t.
So, I’ve had it with this old pan. There are more important things to do with a summer day. I might pull it out some dark wintry evening, or I may not. But, even though I’ve made progress on it, it’s time to stop.
Sometimes, you just need to know when to stop.

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