Sometimes the only sliver of peace in the midst of a busy life is right smack dab in the middle of the shower. Many a great revelation has come to me as I stood under the flow of hot, running water with the steam rising up to meet me. I can stand there under the shower head and suddenly remember where I left my keys, or that I still haven’t picked up my sewing machine from the repair shop, or that I forgot to take the trash can to the curb and now it will have to wait another week until the truck comes by again.
So it should come as no surprise when I tell you it was in the shower that one day I realized I am a piece of baloney. At least that’s the way it came to me at first. And I said it out loud. “I am a piece of baloney,” said I.
You’ve heard of the sandwich generation, haven’t you? Someone, somewhere (probably in a shower with a rain fall shower head) stumbled upon the idea that those of us who care for both our parents and our children, are sandwiched between the two. It’s a strange phenomenon. We wrestle with whether it’s time to take the car keys from our parents at the same time we try to make peace with giving the car keys to our kids. We wonder how to ask our parents if they need help paying for groceries while teaching our children about budgets and savings and tithes. We move our parents into the guest room and then move our children into college dorm rooms. Sometimes it’s a tight squeeze.
And so it came to pass that one day I stood in the shower and realized I was indeed sandwiched between the two. I was trying to manage life between my own two teen-aged children and my wonderful mother-in-law who would soon turn 90. I felt just the way a piece of baloney must feel when it’s slathered in mayo and smushed between two slices of white bread.
“I am a piece of baloney,” I said twice to the exhaust fan straining to empty the tiny bathroom of steam as it billowed from behind the shower curtain. I squeezed soapy water from the washcloth in my hands and watched as tiny bubbles ran over my toes and down the drain.
There was no great word from heaven. No song or profound quote that fell from the sky. Just me and the steam and the water and the washcloth. And the fact that I know I’m not really a piece of baloney. A great revelation, for sure.