I furiously flit from room to room; collect hair ties, dirty socks, armfuls of shoes, pens and papers lying on the coffee table.  Frustration finds space up to my eyebrows over the time it takes to clear messes before the cleaning crew arrives. That’s when I know things are out of whack.

“What is wrong with you,” I say out loud to myself. “You should be thankful you have people to clean.”

And every time I enter another room, I see the sign visible only to my eyes that reads FAILURE.

Every closet fills with piles of I’ll get to that later and maybe we’ll just donate that now that the receipt dates three months ago. I’m wondering why I can’t seem to stay on top of things.

I answer the door of broom handles and buckets and she laughs at my bare face and wet hair. “Did you get your shower before we came,” she grins.  I tell her there aren’t any clean sheets for the beds. They are still in the laundry basket on the dryer, from when I stripped their beds two weeks ago.

Later, a man in a plaid flannel shirt and faded ball cap knocks on the screen door over the whir of vacuums.  He asks me about the dead tree in my front yard. Says he can cut it down, trim all my hedges and clean out my gutters too.  For a fee.

I peer around him to get a look at the washed out pickup idling on the curb with two others seated in the cab. I’m grateful he stopped by; I was planning to call someone. However, I’m seeing that sign nailed to the tree – FAILURE – over what I’ve let go, so wild and spindly in my front yard.

I want to tell him I’ve divorced gardening to marry writing, but instead, I tell him I do all the trimming myself, I’m just a bit behind. But the gutters grow tree sprigs and that skyscraper pine that sways in a light breeze, gnarly dead at the top, its waiting for a strong storm to do some damage. Like my emotions brewing inside.

The whole list of failures goes outside to my back porch, perched on a wicker chair, feet stretched out on another. I close my eyes and tell him, “Lord I don’t want my writing to be about productivity, my prayers to be about asking. I want to let go of all the ways I think I’m not measuring up. Of all the ways I find identity outside of you.”


My shoulders droop, legs melt into the chair and I hear the scratch of the squirrel on bark, woodpecker nailing into the tree, ducks squawking in the distance and the chirp of a cricket humming background melody.

And I realize, I never noticed the sound of crickets in the daylight hours before.

Do you measure your worth by what you do, instead of who you are like I do sometimes? Perhaps we can let go of measuring up together?

This is the eleventh post in the series 31 Days of Letting Go. You can read the collective here. If you are a writer, I invite you to link up any post you’ve written on the theme of letting go in the comments here on Friday. Subscribe to receive the series in your inbox or feed by adding your address in the side bar under Follow Redemptions Beauty.