I went to put something into the microwave the other day and there was “stuff” that had exploded onto the top and sides of the microwave. You know the stuff I am talking about. The pieces of meat or pizza or spaghetti sauce that were left from someone who microwaved something too long. Now, I am pretty meticulous about keeping our microwave at home clean. Like, probably verging on OCD. Each day I check it and clean it out. So having any blown-apart leftovers left inside is not normal. At any rate, I grabbed a paper towel and cleaned it out.
Now cleaning my microwave out was easy because very little was in there. But we have all seen the inside of microwaves that looked like someone placed beef stew on high and set the timer for an hour and then never went back. I mean, go to an apartment full of some college dudes and take a look. Be prepared to gag. Or go check out one in a frat house. Pretty gross.
Now here is the thing: if you stay on top of it, if you keep a discipline of checking on it, the microwave does not get that gross and is not hard to clean out. But the longer you go without getting rid of the junk, the more junk builds and cakes onto to that junk. At that point, cleaning it out is gross and the tendency is just to not do it. And then it only gets worse.
I think this shows up in more than microwaves. This same idea shows up so clearly is in our relationships. You do life with people and things explode. Things burst. Gross stuff flies around and then gets caked and coated on our minds and souls in connection to that person. But we can do something about this, or else we will have some big problems. Get rid of the gross stuff sooner rather than later. Set up a regular discipline that allows you to keep a short record of wrongs, pains, frustrations and disappointments in key relationships. It will be easier to clean out, and you will be more likely to engage in the cleaning process if there is less to clean. We all get that gross residue in our marriages, with our kids, at work and in our extended families. I think it is a lot easier when the problem only requires a damp paper towel rather than steel wool and a scrub brush.