Some Truths are as universal as they are self-evident. Since childhood, I’ve been the walking, talking proof that yes, Life is messy.
Is it just me or are there special Laws of Physics operating in the short space between the fridge and the counter? No matter how careful I think I am, the ceramic floor always tells a contrary tale.
Consequently, every other week or two finds one of us begrudgingly owning up to my own self-induced delusions and pulling out the mop in order to deal with the dried droplets of iced tea I thought I’d been pouring without incident. Or maybe, it isn’t tea at all. Maybe it’s a little bit of slosh from yesterday’s first cup of coffee looking back up at me in the reflection of dawn’s early light.
Either way, I’m shaking my head, “Am I really that clumsy?” The words have barely left my lips and I already regret having asked the question out loud.
From the other room I hear, “Yes”.
Ain’t love grand?
Stains. Life leaves all kinds of them everywhere. Avoiding them in the first place sounds like a good strategy. But the harder I try, the more I’ve come to understand that at some point in the near future, I’ll be pulling out the mop – again.
When I was in college, I remember my roommate and me deciding the best way to get our room deposit back would be to simply paint over the stains I suspect even the EPA was worried about. Who knew the bumps of Chef Boyardees’ tomato-based product would still show through the latex?
Spilled beverage on your living room carpet? Shy of moving, throw rugs or rearranging the furniture don’t get you much for long. So what’s a body to do?
Remove the stain.
Statista reports: “The soap and cleaning compound manufacturing industry in the United States, which produces such household products as laundry detergents, lime/rust removers and various other all purpose cleaners, was forecasted to generate about 61.06 billion U.S. dollars by 2016.” That’s ‘billion’ with a ‘B’! With 2016 behind us, I’ve got a funny feeling the Procter & Gamble people are pretty pleased with how compelled we are to rid ourselves, our clothes and the floors beneath us of stains. The reason P&G keeps making buckets of money? Like ocean tides, stains just keep coming back. It’s what they do.
You and I also know all stains are not created equal. Some of them go deep inside the very material we’re trying to restore.
Every morning when I go into the bathroom, I’m reminded of a former tenant (whom I will never meet) and the burn mark they left me on edge of the sink basin. Apparently perching a burning cigarette on the edge of the counter seemed like a good idea at the time.
No matter what I’ve thrown at that stupid amber silhouette, it refuses to vacate the very cellular construct of surface itself. For months, the stain and I have gone back and forth. Refusing to surrender, I’d go out and buy yet another cleaning product; old school and new school, I think I’ve consulted them all.
The next morning? There’s Amber, laughing at me out of the corner of my eye as I brush my teeth.
A couple of weeks ago I was doing my meditation when Maya Angelou came sputtering though the scrubbing bubbles. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
It was as if in a single deft motion, she wiped away the dried haze of Soft-Scrub from my Soul.
Amber wasn’t a stain I could erase. Maybe hers’ was a gift, a kind of daily testimonial to quitting. My frustration left as quickly as water down the drain. The stain was still there, but now there was a light coming from behind it. Instead of setting myself up with the inevitable frustration of failure, I realized I now had a daily reminder of why quitting is such a big deal.
Life stains us all. Boo-hoo. Yes, it may seem bad, or tragic or just plain maddening sometimes, but the longer I live, the more I realize it’s just how Life works when you’re out in it every day. All I’m proposing here is you consider joining me in giving yourself a break this week. Instead of scrubbing so hard, take a few steps back and look at the stains around you.
It is in that moment you may realize our stains are more than marks, memories of the times neither one of us used a coaster setting our iced tea on the coffee table. Consider for just a moment that hidden inside the stains may be some of your best and truest colors just waiting for the Sun.
Relax. Breathe in. Hold and exhale.
There, you see, we’re all stained…stained glass.
I know this has been out awhile, but I’m only getting around to seeing The Accountant. Think of Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) as Jason Bourne meets Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code. Maybe not everyone’s cup-of-tea, but I had a blast enjoying all the twists and turns of a story well told from the perspective of a math savant…uh? I know , right? Quite a good ride.
Additional Source material at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2140479/
I have decided to read a book I might not want to. But something tells me it’s important to acquire the knowledge in Michael Eric Dyson’s latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop. Stephen King (of all people) says: “Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid. It shook me up, but in a good way. This is how it works if you’re black in America, this is what happens, and this is how it feels. If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen.”
I’m reminded of the saying about our brains, like muscles, when flexed, never returns to its former shape. Will keep you posted on my own journey with this.
Additional information is easy to find. Visit your local book store or online retailer.
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Sorry about the mess (Source: Hautelook.com via https://www.pinterest.com/pin/10977592815173762/; Stubborn Stains (SOURCE): Candy Wanted, Another WordPress blogger with some cool photography and vintage illustrations. Visit Candy Wanted at https://candywanted.wordpress.com/. Stubborn Stains at https://candywanted.wordpress.com/tag/minime-futilita-icone/; Cleaning Product Market projections via Statista: https://www.statista.com/topics/1277/cleaning-products-industry-in-the-us/; Pleasure to Burn (SOURCE): http://thumbs2.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mXl5EjvQVRkMfEB5HUV-Smg.jpg; Maya Angelou: http://www.thewrap.com/11-maya-angelou-quotes-to-live-by/; A guy and his spaghetti stain (Source): http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/28/how-to-remove-stains/
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