The mess covered the entire kitchen, an outspoken witness to the evening of feasting and fun. Cyndi put her hands on her hips as she called out to her husband and daughter, “Peter. Jenny. I could use some help out here.” She held her breath.
“Coming, Mom.” Twelve-year old sweetness resounded down the hall
A gravelly reply arrived from the den. “I’ll be along.”
Her daughter’s ponytail swished back and forth as she bounced up to the butcher block island. “Ooooh, no wonder you hollered for help. Looks like a twenty-five-person tornado went through. What can I do?”
Cyndi relaxed her arms and tilted her head. “If you start loading the dishwasher, I’ll put away the leftovers.”
Jenny’s chatter was a soothing balm to her husband’s sharp words. He’d cut her down right in front of everybody. If only she could toss away his smart remarks as easily as she did the last of the green beans. Instead they sat rotting in her belly.
Once she stacked the plastic containers in the fridge, Cyndi went to the sink and turned on the faucet. Squirting the dish soap into the stream brought instant foam and filled the air with the lemon scent she found refreshing. As the water level rose the sounds around her quieted.
“Okay, Mom. I’ve crammed as much as I can in there. What now?” The sparkles from Jenny’s triumphant face were contagious.
Cyndi delivered a quick hug to her assistant. “It would be great if you’d wipe the counters and the table. Oh, and set the dishwasher to run. I’ll turn it on when I finish.” She gestured toward the pile of dirty dishes.
“Are you sure? That’s a mountain of stuff and it’s late. You could do it in the morning, Mom.”
Cyndi turned to shut off the faucet and gain a second for thought. “No. You know how a messy kitchen upsets your father.”
Jenny pulled the striped towel out of the stove handle. “Then let me dry and put away. It’ll go faster.”
In an instant Cyndi snatched the cloth away from her. “You’ve got an early morning practice tomorrow, Jenny. Go to bed. I’ll be fine.” She soothed.
A moment passed.
“And you have to drive me.” The ponytail swished again as Jenny surrendered the point. “Okay. I’m going to take a shower.” A quick peck on the check. “Love you. Good night.”
Cyndi gave her attention to the soapy water. With a deep breath she plunged her hands in, then jerked them out. “Owwww.” She tried to shake her left hand dry, flinging droplets all over herself. Her brain caught hold and she turned the cold water on full force. Sticking her fingers under the surge brought blessed relief. Tears threatened.
Her husband’s voice drifted down the hallway. “What’s going on? Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m fine.” She bit her bottom lip. “The water’s hotter than I thought. That’s all.”
She inspected the now bright red burn on her knuckle, the one she’d earned feeding the wood stove two days earlier. How could a forgotten wound bring on so much pain?
That question occupied her mind as she worked one-handed to finish the task. Her husband’s stinging comments somehow got entangled in her search for an answer. Could it be that any wound left untended is extra sensitive to reinjury . . . and the pain is even sharper?
Cyndi ended up with more questions than answers. Tired and frustrated by the fruitless effort, she decided she was done. She verified the return to tidiness around her. Turned on the dishwasher, flicked off the lights, and made her way to bed.
“Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 NIV1984
Does pain ever surprise you the way it did Cyndi?
Tell us how you handle it in the Comments.
Thank you for sharing that we all might learn and grow.