I love taking showers in the winter. I turn the hot water on first then slowly turn the knob to allow the cold to come in until the temperature is just right. Not too hot, not too cold, but just enough to warm me up on a cold winter morning.
For the first few moments, I enjoy allowing the water to warm me over. I do no bathing during this time. This is my moment to begin my thinking for the day.
I typically think about conversations from the day before and things I may need to follow up on. I reflect on how I felt and question my reactions to any challenging situations. On occasion there will be inspiration or ideas, but mostly, I just let my mind wander to where it wants.
The dreaded flush or the next person decides it’s time to brush their teeth or take a shower now.
My solitude is quickly interrupted by a battle for just right. A little less heat, a little more cold and vice versa. Back and forth like a tug of war for a zen shower.
If I can’t get my temperature back to right, I launch into a call for “Who’s using the water?! Turn it off!”. Like an overgrown two year old I stomp my feet and yell for some sort of resolution. I dance around the streams of water testing and adjusting every few seconds hoping I don’t get burned or heaven forbid iced by the cold water.
If it wasn’t for “the others”, I could continue my shower in peace. This balancing act of temperature is not how I wanted to start my day. It reminded me that the relationships in my life work this way too.
There may be periods of just right, but there is a constant ebb and flow. A give and take. My relationships have to constantly be tweaked and adjusted. Some grace here, some forgiveness there, an apology here a celebration there. I owe you, you owe me. It’s a balancing act, just like balancing the knobs on the shower. And just like the two year old, sometimes I kick and scream because I’m not getting my way.
This relational dance, it’s what makes us human. It’s what makes us grow deeper. It’s what challenges us to find the sweet spot in how we interact and care for one another.
I’ve since reframed my thinking about the shower dance and find myself wondering how I can tweak what I can control to give the other people in my house what they are looking for too. A just right experience.