It happens sometimes when I walk into a friend’s house to the sight of pots and pans criss-crossed on the counter and dust bunnies floating near air vents. I get this urge to grab the dishcloth and the mop. I could go on mission to find the counter top again, ready the pans for the next meal, scrub down to the grooves in the ceramic tile. Coming at the scene fresh, I get a vision for its full potential and my part in taking it there.

This past week at my own house, I sat on a step helping a little one with her socks and shoes. Half a flight below, milk coagulated in cereal bowls huddled near the sink. I hardly gave them a second look even when I was near. Same for the toys that had migrated throughout the house. And the proverbial piles of laundry. Maybe I am too much at home in my own home. Or maybe there is too much to see.

But that afternoon, through the stairwell windows, the sun shifted a fraction of a degree in its arc across the sky and all of a sudden I saw something that was invisible just a moment before. Bold rays bolted through and traced a single silvery strand. It floated, a long lock of gray in a gentle breeze, a renegade ribbon of cobweb. I studied it for a moment, how the light beaded up on spider’s silk.

And then I moved my feet to the laundry and pulled out a duster. This one task I could do. I could tackle the thing in the spotlight.

Maybe you’ve had the experience of opening up a book and finding yourself or one of your relationships in the story you read. Through the distance of the page, you see your own struggle in a new light and take what you learn back to your life and relationships.

I have found that writing can do the same. By putting a struggle into words, you find yourself on the page, at a distance, and the story spotlights things that were just a few moments ago unseen.

{Even in a simple post like Danger Is Not My Middle Name, I was able to explore my penchant for physical safety and to think about how to challenge myself in that area. In Back Up to the Waterline, I discovered more about what drains me and what fills me as a caregiver. Share an example below of something you’ve learned about yourself in the writing process.}