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Sudie Crouch: Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there

Out of the blue the other day, the door to the mudroom stopped closing all the way. 

The door wasn’t that old, maybe around five years or so, but we do go in and out of that room frequently as the mudroom also serves as the pantry and laundry. 

But the door wouldn’t close and it is a door we normally try to keep closed at all times. 

Sudie Crouch
“I’ll fix it,” Lamar said. “It looks like one side of it is kind of wobbly.”

Really, it looked fine, but I don’t have the keen eye my husband does for things like this.

He can look at something and tell it’s not straight or balanced.

We also know our little cabin is a bit wopsided so things need to be adjusted on occasion.

Lamar worked on it for a few minutes, then tried shutting it. It popped back open. 

He worked on it a bit longer and pulled it shut. It stayed. 

For a few minutes anyway. 

I had to go in there and get something, and found it wouldn’t shut again. 

“I may have to get something at Home Depot tomorrow,” Lamar said. 

It bugged me that the door wouldn’t close, and I felt like if I hadn’t gone in there, it would have. 

Of course, someone would have eventually gone in there, but still.

I tried pulling it close but it wouldn’t meet the door jamb. 

“That’s so odd,” I thought aloud. “It was fine yesterday.”

I yanked on it a few more times and realized I am incredibly weak, as I struggled to get the door to close. 

“Stupid door,” I said frustrated. I kept pulling on it to no avail.

Curious, I went behind the door to see if something was wrong there. 

Sure enough, a Swiffer broom had fallen against the back side of the door, between the door and the jamb, and was just thin enough that it could cause the door to not close properly. 

It’s probably what caused it to not close in the first place, but the jostling and adjusting bumped it back, only for it to slide back into the door frame again. 

I moved it to another corner of the mudroom and the door closed fine. 

The door not closing helped me find the Swiffer broom I had thought I lost, and made me realize something. 

On the outside, the door looked perfectly OK. Sure, it may have acted a little sticky when it opened and closed, but like I said, our cabin is a little wonky. But on the surface, it looked fine. 

It wasn’t until I walked behind it and saw something else going on that I found the root of the problem. 

The problem wasn’t a major one, but it was enough that the door wasn’t working correctly, and it was frustrating all of us. 

It made me think how much that door could be like any of us — you, me, our friends, family and coworkers. 

On the outside, it looked fine. It may have been a little wonky, but that was one of its quirks. 

When it stopped closing properly, we discovered one little flaw that needed fixing, but it wasn’t until I stepped behind the door and looked at what was happening that I could see what the real problem was. 

We may look OK on the outside. 

We may know someone who is holding things together for appearances, and from our side, look like nothing’s wrong.

But once we get behind the scenes, we find there may be something going on that is the source of some problems. 

It may not be a big thing; it may be something that is an easy fix, like moving the broom, but if it is affecting them in some way, it can impact other areas of their life and cause a ripple effect. 

This dawned on me as I closed the door. 

It was such an easy fix. The problem just needed to be looked at from a different perspective. 

We’ve just made it through one of the most challenging years ever; this year may bring more of the same. 

We’re not all in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. What one may be dealing with may be totally different than you or I, but it may still be causing a lot of stress and problems in their life.

Like the Swiffer, it may not seem like it would be big enough to cause a problem, but when it came back the second time, it was worse and more annoying.

Realizing those around us may have something going on that they don’t share may help us to extend a bit more compassion and grace. 

I know it can be tough; we’re all dealing with our own Swiffer.

Remembering we all have something we’re dealing with that others don’t see can sometimes be the gentle reminder we need.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.