Monday, 17 February 2020 12:27

The Next Right Thing

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti
The Next Right Thing Photo by Jenny Kennedy-Olsen From FreeImages

Clue: the next right thing is tiny, nonthreatening, and right in front of you. Do that thing.~From It's Never Too Late To Begin Again by Julia Cameron

I'll never forgot who taught me the expression, "The Next Right Thing." The woman sat in my office, a colleague, and said, "I'm not sure what to do about taking the job in California. It's a great opportunity, and I'm scared to leave Charleston. My family is here, my recovery community is here. Overall, I like my job." She paused, her forehead wrinkling, lips pressed together. She placed her hands on the chair cushion, elbows locked, and leaned forward. She smiled. "Guess I'll just do the next right thing."

The slogan made sense, and I borrowed it from that lovely woman who eventually made it to California by following the stepping stones of "the next right thing."

I used the phrase this weekend when I awakened feeling pressured to get things done. Be productive. "It won't be so overwhelming if you just take the next step, Priscilla. The next right thing. What's next?" 

The day unfolded...

I kept my appointment at the beauty salon and got my hair cut. I was relieved that I had not cancelled. The head massage and freshened look relieved some of the pressure.

Next I filled my gas tank. The light signaling that I was running on fumes was no longer blinking red on the dashboard. The full tank heartened me. "Such a simple thing to get gas, " I thought. I began to feel my motivation increasing.

And then...

I arrived home and sorted the laundry. The fragrance of the laundry soap and bleach commingled. The smell seemed to buoy my spirits. It was only 10 a.m. and already the melancholy had lifted.

But the house! The realtor was coming the next day to give us feedback on what upgrades we'd need to do before selling. I looked around and witnessed the essence of my procrastination over the weeks--dust and crumbs--surfaces stacked with the stuff of everyday life. "Okay, just do the next thing," I said to myself. For encouragment, I turned on a movie I'd been wanting to watch. "For every task you complete, you can watch fifteen minutes of the movie." I emptied the dishwasher and put the dirty dishes inside, then bleached the sink. Movie. I cleared, then bleached the counter surfaces. Movie. I folded the warm, now bright-white towels and put them away. Movie. And on and on and on until the house shone. "The next right thing" a tool as handy as my dust cloth and can of "Pledge."

My husband mopped and created a flower arrangement from his garden. Made the outside gleam. The realtor stated, "You've staged this house beautifully."

And today? I haven't been able to leave the Psalms lately when reading the Bible. "Is this the right path?" I asked. "Should I stay in one book?" I thought, "The poetry is so beautiful. I love this place. Just read the next Psalm." And that's what I did.

My mountain of hiding, my pathway of escape, my tower of rescue where none can reach me. My secret strength and shield around me.~From Psalm 18:2 (The Passion Translation)





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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.