This week I’m being thrown out of my comfort zones and up and down into unfamiliar places.

It’s a week where I don’t fit. A week where I find myself tripping over words, feeling I don’t look like myself and that I’ve forgotten how to set a table.

Good things are happening. Blue sky peeks through clouds. Children laugh. Families embrace and linger over good-byes. New library books sit in happy piles.

But today, I feel a bit like the dirty tan slipcover that’s too big for our couch, covered in marker and foot skids. And I’ve just been sprayed and tossed in the wash with the rest of the bottle of OxyClean, and I’m hoping it all comes out looking better than it went in.

I’m doing what I can, but it’s more than the doing because so much is out of the realm of hands.

It’s stuff of the head — where I get to tell the rest of me what is true. Where I can choose:

Fear or faith.

Overwhelm or one step at a time.

Despair or hope.

Self-punishment or grace.

“You’re alone” or “You’re never alone.”

“This will be a disaster” or “You can do this.”

When I see the words on the screen in front of me, the choice seems easy. Of course. But in real life it’s more complicated because sometimes I choose dirty and ill-fitting because they’re what I know. And other times, I drive myself crazy trying to smooth and tuck in all the extra fabric and loose edges to make it all look right as if then it will be right.

I vacillate between procrastination (because I know I won’t be able to get it perfect) and planning — all the lists and timetables and outline points, so I can manage what will come at me.

But I can’t manage it, really.

Might it be a flop? Perhaps. If it turns out as badly as I can imagine, would I make it through alive? Yes, I believe I would.

Sometimes I just need to turn things on their heads.

As I write, J walks up next to me, requests another pre-dinner snack, sees the naked fifteen-year-old burgundy couch and raises her eyebrows: “What happened here?”

“I’m just washing the slipcover.”

“Ooooh! A new couch!” she calls out, jumping across the exposed cushions with a broad smile.

It’s unfamiliar. But good.

Then she runs back downstairs to play.

Linking up today with “Just Write” (an exercise in free writing everyday moments) at The Extraordinary Ordinary.

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