The new microwave at The House* has its turntable at my eye level. It’s awkward for me, who is currently the shortest person in the house, especially since the door opens downward, like a standard oven door. But that’s neither here nor there right now…
…what is here and was there is me, at breakfast, eye-level with some… red? blots? on the turntable? So I use my finger to pat them away (pshaw with your wipes!)
and the first one doesn’t pat. Is stuck!? So I chisel it with my fingernail, gather it up, pat up its companion.
Sticky red, huh? Tomato paste from last night’s dinner, huh? Leaving a mess in the Beautiful New Device, huh? I’m going to Say Something about this…
And what? prompts another part of my brain. What, precisely, do you want to occur in the wake of this… interchange?
There’s no flourishing trajectory here. It’s not actually a moment with lessons. Turned around and looked at again, it’s me helping with the much larger (flourishing!) effort of having us all fed with nourishing, tasty food. In the words of comedian Gilda Radner’s character Miss Emily Litella, “NevvverMIND.”
When A & B were young, and especially when they were teens, I spent a lot of moments pausing this way. In that season, there were plenty of lessons I might’ve tried to impart, but I had figured out (from my own teen self?) that there’s a limited amount a person can/will absorb. Since I wanted to make those points stick (as much as possible-!) I tried to keep to big issues and long arcs that would make a difference to their eventual mature selves.
But even in the rest of my life, this pause/space/reflection helps with foot-in-mouth disease.
Not all mindfulness is sitting silently with God!
And this sort, the sort that operates within human relationships, can be holy, too.
*The House: Now that I live in two places, they get names: The House and The Apartment.