I was squeamish as I slid the thin cardboard beneath the overturned bowl. After considering my options, I had exhausted any other possible course of action. This was necessary. I carefully applied pressure to the bowl as to not upset it with my motion. I really didn’t want to do this. Even more so, I didn’t want to do what I knew was my next step. This was just the beginning.

My detour down this undesired path followed a text I had received from my daughter while at work. You could sum her message into a good news, bad news kind of text. Stick with me for a moment, I’m going somewhere beyond the squeamishness.

The good news was that our cat had defended our home against an unwanted invader. The bad news, the “gift” left by our cat didn’t appear to be fully deceased when my daughter flipped the cat’s dish over it.  The very bad news, when I arrived home, I knew I needed to do something about it. After all, this situation wasn’t going to resolve by itself. As a responsible adult, I’d encountered what is affectionately included in job descriptions as “other duties as assigned.”

I took a deep breath and pressed the bowl tightly against the cardboard before lifting them together. I walked to the edge of the woods behind my house. With a swift motion… yeah, I’ll spare you the details and just say, the problem was solved.

There was no applause. There was no Mother-of-the-Year Award. The world didn’t notice. That’s when it hit me, often in life we’re nudged, even called to do things in our every day life that yield a similar feeling to the one I just had. We’re nudged to do something that challenges us but there’s no fanfare. It’s often what we choose to do when no one else is watching that we define who we are. It’s those moments that can shape our character and define our integrity. It can also be important in those times to remember:

  • Sometimes there’s no applause. The world may stay silent when you do the right thing. But, the right thing is right even if no one notices.
  • Sometimes we’re called to do “messy”. I merely needed to clean up after my cat. In life we might be called to help clean up after a big storm or flood. Or, we could teach our children to cook, or paint with toddlers. Kindness and love may take us to the intersection of compassion and messy. Embrace it!
  • Sometimes our victories don’t appear glorious, but they are still victories. Success is following through on the things we’re nudged to do despite our own insecurities, fears, and doubts. Victory may be taking a dinner to a neighbor in need despite past differences. Victory may simply be the discipline to follow through on that thing you know you need to do. Take the next step and be sure recognize which steps are victories.

I never expected that the overturned bowl in my kitchen would yield wisdom. I’m hoping beyond the ewww-factor it’s blessed you too.

Click to comment and join the conversation. What wisdom have you found true about doing the right thing? I’d love to hear from you.