Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Just the Two of Us...

Kristiana is away at camp until Friday; she left Monday.
Steve is away on business until this evening; he left Monday as well.
So Daniel and I have been a terrific twosome since Monday morning.
We've played ping-pong.
We've played catch.
We've read together.
We've watching World Cup soccer: Singing for Brazil's win. Sorrow for Spain's loss.
We've eaten pizza, cookies, fruit, and muffins.
We've walked in the rain and played in the sunshine.
We've talked, laughed, prayed, and even cried together.
I've scratched his back.
I've cut his hair.
Just the two of us.
I like this boy a lot; I think I'll keep him.

With Steve and Kristiana out of town, and Daniel being a self-proclaimed non-dog-walker, I've had a lot of time alone with Maya this week as well.
We've walked, run, and played.
We must be quite a sight: the five-pound Yorkie pretending she's an Alaskan Husky attempting to pull the 5'10" woman up the block. I felt like it was time to nip the insanity in the bud, so I've spent good time with her outside this week, training her to stay closer to me as we walk and not try to drag me up the street.
To her credit, Maya has done well with my new expectations.
After all, she's had very little distraction;
it's just been the two of us.
I'm starting to like this dog a lot; I think I'll keep her.

Yesterday I made a new friend. His name is Hoover. He's a powerful steam-vac carpet cleaner. Being that we don't have carpeting downstairs (Thank God for dark hardwood floors!), I had to haul Hoover up the fifteen steps to the second floor - yes, I have the steps counted. The front staircase is made up of 15 steps in a single run. The back stairs have three steps, then they turn to the right, then there are twelve more steps. I did mention my slight obsession with numbers last week.

Back to my story... Together Hoover and I have cleaned the homeschool room, Kristiana's room, Daniel's room, my bedroom, and part of both staircases. I've filled the two tanks, emptied them, rinsed out the retrieval tank, and marveled at the filth Hoover has extracted from our carpets. And we don't even wear shoes in the house! I simply cannot imagine how horrific the carpets would be if we wore our shoes up here. Yikes!
I like this machine a lot; I think I'll keep it.

Earlier today, as I rinsed out yet another bucket full of filthy carpet run-off, I got to thinking. There were only a handful of visible stains on our carpet before Hoover got to work. Dog stains, spilled drink stains, and stains that come from the bottoms of sweaty feet and socks. Those stains covered less than five percent of the carpet. So where did the rest of the grime that filled the rinse bucket come from? Why didn't I see it? After all, we don't wear our shoes up here and I vacuum regularly, so why was the carpet so dirty?

My answer: life happens. We sweat. We shed hair and skin cells. Maya comes running upstairs with dirt on her paws and in her fur. Dust accumulates, and we pound it into the carpet with our heavy footsteps. I cannot explain where the dirt comes from, but it was there. I saw it in the machine. I watched it run down the sink drain.

I suppose the same is true of mind and spirit. The dirt that gets kicked up from the road of life - things like disappointments, unchecked anger, bitterness, lack of forgiveness, dashed hopes, forgetful friends, fear, crises near and far, death, illness, and moments of despair - leaves some visible stains, but most of the detritus of life gets ground under the surface. It's not until I take some time out to reflect, journal, and pray that I realize how much of life's stuff has gotten pressed down into the cracks and crevices of who I am. I don't condemn myself for getting dirty; I simply set aside time to do some steam-vacuuming.

Sometimes as I sit and take notes on my life, I wonder how ridiculous I must look trying to pull life up and down the street according to my schedule and desires. Try as I might, I cannot move the hands of time forward or backwards. I cannot relive moments I wish I could change or fast-forward to moments I long to experience. I'm learning, slowly but surely, to walk at a reasonable pace, to trust The Master to lead me beside still waters, and sometime soon I hope to stop pooping where I sleep!

If you'll allow me to speak in the voice of my beloved son, Daniel, for a minute here--> "When the house feels really empty and lonely, when the rain is pouring down so hard that I can barely see what's five feet in front of me, when it feels like I can't think of a single thing to do because all my friends are either at camp or on vacation with their families, then I can cuddle up with someone special and let her scratch my back." Or in my case, I can settle down in front of the computer to read blogs, check email, and send out a few. I can reread earlier emails and send fond, kind wishes to faraway friends. I can make the occasional phone call.

And when all those options come to an inevitable end, I remember that I can choose between Daniel (I bet I can beat you in ping-pong again, little fella!), Maya (Do you have to go pee-pee, sweet girl?), and Hoover (Is that a stain I see in the carpet over there or just a shadow?) and do something extra special, just the two of us.

No comments: