with equal parts compassion & hilarity

Belly Button or Otherwise, Get Rid of That Lint

One time, at 2:02 p.m. on a Wednesday about a year ago I was completely absorbed in trying to clearly articulate what my seventh sense would be if I could have a seventh sense. Like, it was nearly on the tip of my tongue. Ugh, I was so close. I thought I was anyway; I still haven’t decided. (I’m curious, what would your seventh sense be?)

As I abruptly shifted my hands in effort to prompt ideas (random, abrupt movement helps me to think better) my left one collided with a tall capped cup of hot water. By natural order of the world, the cup tipped, the cap fell off and the water spilled onto me, my desk and various papers. It was scalding hot water because I just really like to drink hot water which sounds a lot less weird to say if you live in China. I heard that from my friend who visited China once.

In addition to the slight burning sensation I was experiencing, I couldn’t really see well since a few water droplets managed to jump from my desk to my glasses lenses. I had to prioritize what to clean up first though. Sopping wet papers, water creeping across my desk, and slowly drip drip dripping onto the floor versus a few drops on my glasses. I may have over thought this decision. 

Sometimes I do that and kind of like to pretend I’m in a movie that has a beautiful soundtrack. The video turns to slow motion and viewers get a first hand look into the character weighing the pros/cons and playing out every potential scenario before making a move. What will the character do now? There is no perfect choice – the world is so gray! Oh, what will they do?!

Much less exciting in my real life. Honestly, where is the suspense? I either clean up my desk first or I clean up my glasses first. Like, can you believe you’re actually taking the time to read this right now? I wasn’t in a movie. I just needed to do something. Eight and a half seconds later I calmed down, cleaned up my desk with poorly absorbing paper towels and directed attention to my glasses.

I wiped away the water droplets and, upon further examination, felt appalled and highly unsatisfied with myself. They were so dirty! Not so much the lenses, but the parts of the glasses that you don’t really even notice. Take a look at your glasses right now. How do the inside of the arms look? Or what about where the tiny metal screw is that helps you move the arms of the glasses?

Indirectly, this also kind of makes me think about belly buttons. You know, the part of your body that you don’t really even notice. The belly button is just kind of there remaining largely unnoticed unless you have a very uniquely shaped outie or have a weird thing for belly buttons.

More likely than not though, you rarely acknowledge your belly button which is probably full of lint. Maybe after you clean your glasses you should clean your belly button. Don’t neglect your glasses (they help you see!) and don’t neglect your belly button (it helped you get nutrients when you were a wee little creature in your mother’s womb!).

Another thing you shouldn’t neglect is yourself as a whole. Yourself as a whole includes health: mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. It feels like you’re busy all the time so you push caring for those parts of yourself away. This feeling is valid. It is also lame. You will make time for the things that are important because you do spend your time doing something, right? You will care for the things that are important because you do care for some things, right?

A few weeks ago, I arrived late to an 11:00am church service where the pastor asked a question that is often asked at church services: “Are you fully investing in God?” I have been taking stock of my life, how I balance my time, evaluating the things that I care about and answering that question in the realest way I possibly can. While answering this question, I feel some shame. Cue negative self-talk. A lot of times this paralyzes me, so I’ve also been trying to actively think about God and grace. Cue rephrasing exercises + a little bit of feisty.

These are good things to think about because you know what kills shame? Grace. Not my friend Grace even though she’s wise and loving and fun. No, I am referring to the grace that is from Jesus. If you’re anything like me, you like to mess up, shove your dirty laundry under the bed and go for a 10 mile run to forget all your problems or say yes to two more jobs so you don’t really have time to process through your experiences. However, eventually, you have to look at that dirty laundry as you no longer have any clean black jeans because you’re kind of a hipster and wearing black jeans makes you feel tough. You just want to feel tough some days! It that so much to ask for?!

No, it is not so much to ask for at all! NOT AT ALL. You want to wear black jeans and feel tough, huh? You gotta do laundry, pal. Regularly. You need to carve out time to feel the sun on your cute button nose, spend time with people who are life-giving, make time to read a great book by someone named God, and time to reflect on that insanely fantastic date you went on or that your grandma passed away or that wildly awkward interaction with a fellow shopper at Target.

It comes down to the point I made earlier. I will make time for the things I deem important and I will care for the things that I deem important. So, what am I deeming important? What am I prioritizing?

Overall, your glasses are important. So is your belly button. So is yourself as a whole. Let’s show them how important they are by taking good care of them.

Get rid of all that lint. For the purposes of this post, lint refers to the literal lint creating a home in your belly button, the lint packed down in the hidden parts of your glasses or the figurative lint of your life. Regardless, nobody likes any of those kinds of lint. Make a drastic change to clean up the lint. Get rid of ’em. Stat. 

P.S. Stat means now. Duh, don’t you watch The Office? Dwight K. Schrute? (Side note: If you don’t love watching The Office we are no longer friends.)

P.P.S. I feel like a similar case could be made for flossing which I hate doing, but should do more often.

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