Almost every day I find one. Sometimes two if it’s been a hectic morning. So close to the soapy sponge I can almost imagine it washing itself.
The peanut butter knife.
Neighboring coffee cups have been rinsed and put in the dishwasher. Bowls and spoons, too. But the sticky knife remains. Requiring more than a rinse, it’s more of a task; it takes some extra effort to scrub the stickiness off. Perhaps that’s why it waits. How many seconds would it take to wash it? Why not just wash the peanut butter knife with the rest of the dishes? The spoons all made the journey, even the forks, but not the knife. It only makes sense that it needs more help getting where it’s going.
Here’s what I’ve noticed, and I’m certainly not proud of it: it’s one thing if I left the peanut butter knife stuck to the bottom of the sink. I know I’d wash it later, when it’s more convenient. But when it’s someone else, I quickly become resentful. What should be a harmless piece of stainless steel transforms into the manifestation of all the things I resent having to do: a seemingly endless list of thankless efforts to keep pace with the chaos that comes with raising a family, caring for pets, and trying to feel proud of one’s own life work, even if it means showing up without matching socks or mascara applied to only one eye.
If I find a dried up peanut butter knife that I did not leave in the bottom of the sink, you can bet my jaw is clenched while I scrub it. If only the heat of my thoughts could make the scrubbing easier.
I have taken many mental orbits around my own hypocrisy. It’s not a pleasant trip. Yet I find myself boarding this rocket time and time again. It’s a trip that is familiar. A trip with a repeated destination of guilt and shame.
Only recently did I come to discover that my time travel is a kind of default—an indulgence in nothing more than a familiar pattern. I was finding comfort in familiarity despite negative consequences, re-playing these less-than-stellar moments despite the pain it brought. A kind of inter-galactic Groundhog Day.
So, these days, I’m attempting to ride a different rocket: the kind that could fly deep instead of far. My rocket fuel is a mixture of more honest conversations, time spent in solitude, and practices that help me thread difficult feelings to the rise and fall of my own breath. I’m finding that when I slow down and get curious about what lies at the root of my more difficult feelings, like my own hypocrisy, an opening appears. A perforation in the fabric of my way of thinking.
Through this gap I am led towards a kind of self-forgiveness that, when embodied,transforms into letting things be. It is here, in the transformation of difficulties, that I have found a way of growing inch by inch towards becoming the highest version of myself: the kind of person who could scrub someone else’s peanut butter knife just because it was there.