OPINION

Green: Taking the risk that comes with relationships is worth it

RENAE GREEN

I have developed a housecleaning system that is 97.98 percent failproof. It doesn’t matter how bad it looks, this system will take your house from cluttered to clean in record speed. This system can be yours for the low-low price of $39.95 plus shipping and handling.

Just kidding. I hate to mess with shipping, so I’ll share my system with you for free. Are you ready? You might want to get a pen and paper and write this down:

Renae Green column

If you need to clean your house, but lack the motivation to clean it... (cue drumroll)… throw a party! Nothing will light a fire under you quicker than knowing a few dozen of your closest friends and family will soon rake through your fridge and use your guest bathroom.

Works. Every. Time.

The last time I hosted a party was pre-Covid-19. I threw a Christmas shindig for some of my favorite people in the world: my church writer’s group and their families. In preparation, I got most of my house cleaner than it’s been in a while. The rooms I didn’t clean (AKA the teenager’s room) I just closed and locked the door.

I swept.

Mopped.

I dusted, y’all. I hate to dust.

I also baked cookies, prepared crudités, and made sausage balls. And for the pièce de résistance, I got out my silver tea set. The one with the silver tray, the silver teapot, and the silver creamer and sugar bowls.

The one that’s been in storage for more than 12 years. That one.

When I pulled the box from the darkest, farthest corner of the cabinet, I didn’t know what I’d find. That set has made it through two moves without being opened. I held my breath as I unwrapped the package, wondering if it would be black with tarnish.

But my careful packaging, all those years ago, paid off. Each piece was wrapped in plastic and sealed tight against any possible air contamination. Sure enough, the set was as shiny as if I’d just polished it yesterday.

As I set out the pieces and filled them with hot water, sugar and creamer, a bolt of joy flashed through me. I love that tea set. It makes me happy. But the joy was followed by a question I wasn’t quite sure how to answer. Why haven’t I used it? Why have I let it sit, unseen and untouched, for so many years?

Then I realized I have some things in common with that tea set. I tend to shrink-wrap myself and hide away. I hold people at arm’s length to protect myself from getting hurt.

Sometimes I want to stay in bed on those cold, rainy winter days. I want to bask in the security of my fluffy-soft blanket, of my own four walls. I long to sleep through the stress that lurks outside, listening for my footsteps into reality.

But then I remember that the same four walls that protect me from the world can also trap me, imprison me, keep me from spreading my wings. Those same walls that keep out the stress also keep out the joy. They keep me from caring about anyone or anything but me.

Do I really want a shrink-wrapped, shiny-perfect life? Or do I want to come out of my box and risk getting tarnished? When we protect ourselves from pain, we often seal ourselves off from the best things in life. Things like laughter. Friendship. Love.

After that party, I kept the tea set out on my counter for a while. Each time I looked at it, I remembered that life is a treasure. It’s meant to be spent and used up. At the end of my days, if I’m not a little tarnished, I’m not sure I’ll have spent my time here wisely. Discoloration and pain add depth to our character and show we’ve lived life to the fullest.

“While He was in Bethany... a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume... She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.” Mark 14:3

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com