There’s a left-handed toilet in my new office. Never used one? This is what I experience; I’m sitting there—you know, on the toilet, reaching back to flush. My hand reaches back to the right and swipes air because the flushing handle isn’t there, it’s on the left side. But I forget this every time I use it…day after day after day. Surely even left-handed people would be thrown by this, right? (Note the correct, right-handed toilet in the photo)
Our lefty toilet is one of a handful of things that we didn’t notice during the build-out of our new office space and never considered asking for. “So, in the bathrooms, we would like to make sure that we have right-handed toilets please.” Yeah, no. We never had that conversation. So…we get what they had left in the warehouse, I suppose. Something I never knew existed and must have saved the owner a few bucks.
I’m grateful that it actually amuses me. It’s like living with a big, porcelain, white elephant gift, only all year long! It could needle at me…remind me of other little annoyances at the office; like the unused, reserved parking spots for the weight loss center (ironic, no?) or the water dispenser that fills my water bottles as if it is squeezing out molasses, eating up precious minutes between my sessions. On a bad day, my blood can boil. But, I’ve tried to consider these things invitations from Jesus to a lighter attitude. As I walk to my car, I’m trying to be intentionally grateful for the things that make my life easy. And when I wait for my water bottle to fill, I pray for my next session. And when I reach for the toilet handle on the wrong side, I remember not to take myself so seriously and I laugh.
What are you tempted to be angry about that could shift to amusement and light-heartedness? The nationwide shortage of workers in stores and restaurants will mean we will all have opportunities to either rage or chuckle as we wait longer for services. The bogged down supply chain will mean that we wrap printed out images of gifts not-yet-arrived and put them under the tree. The Omicron variant may mean that we have to mask for longer, travel safer, and be extremely kind to our beloved medical workers for longer. We may be tempted to let these things eat us up, but perhaps a shift in perspective could help. Can our inconveniences draw us to a contemplation of our shared humanity? Can we wait for each other, encourage and support each other…maybe offer a little humor?
While writing this, I’ve realized that for a man who stands in front of the toilet in my office, the handle is on the right side when he goes to flush. So, from a masculine perspective, my left-handed toilet is actually a right-handed toilet. **Mind blown** Perhaps many of the small and not-so-small irritants in our lives have a whole different meaning to someone else.
For now, I say, let’s lighten up on the small stuff. It’s way too intense out there.
I love this phrase and I love this book. Victoria LaBalme has written a book that helps the reader create space for their own discovery of purpose and unique direction. It is a visual wonder; each section engages the right and left brain to help the reader sit in spaces of confusion, tension, discernment, and yes, risk! The design of each page stirs and invites the reader into out-of-the-box thinking and bolder consideration that mere words would do alone.
Risk Forward has become a contemplative tool for me. The book does not have to be read/experienced in order, so, on a day I’m using the book, I’ll refer to the “circle of contents” and choose a section that pulls at me. Then I go to it and engage it slowly, trying to notice what is coming up for me. That’s the power of this book. During this season of trying to refine my own direction with writing and other projects, Risk Forward has been a welcome companion and guide, helping me risk forward in more way than one.
Most recently, I took a bold, risky step forward by starting a group for four exceptionally talented women. Every element of doing this felt like a risk forward; committing the time, praying for what to do with the group, inviting each person, and even deciding what to make for lunch during our first meeting! But…using Risk Forward helped me realize that developing leaders was essential for me and currently missing in my life. The messages in the book helped me challenge the personal blocks that crept up as I considered putting myself out there as a leader.
My question to you is, is there a risk out there that you’ve been afraid to take? Or a step that you’ve talked yourself out of? Or a dream that you’ve avoided developing? The back of the book says, “some people in life know exactly what they want to achieve. Risk Forward is for the rest of us.” I hope you’ll benefit from it as much as I have.
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