There are dust bunnies. So many. They are under the bed and in me, scurrying across the wooden floors of my home and my heart. They are moving much too fast through the empty, bumping into toys and crayons and dried up play-doh, then coming to a weary stop.
It seems no matter how we try to keep up with them, they are winning. So we sweep up only the ones that are out in the open and then we leave the house, coming and going with the living of everyday life.
We could hold them out in the palms of our hands to show that we have them, but the bunnies float and they spin and we can't seem to catch them. We push them under the rugs to hold them still.
We ignore them.
We force them to unnoticed parts of our cluttered minds, and move on to do the easier, the more manageable and mundane things. We go through the motions.
This thinking I'm doing about dust bunnies and life began the other day when Ryan was playing with the boys on our bed, wrestling. Arms and legs were flailing and there were giggles and shrieks.
Then Ryan's coffee mug was knocked to the floor by one of those flailing feet or hands. It fell with a crash, shattering off the nightstand and splashing into a large puddle under our bed. Coffee covered the floor and chased the bunnies.
So we stopped the easier things we were doing and lifted the bedside table, we wiped clean the unseen places, sliding as far as we could across the wood floor under the bed, on our bellies, reaching. It seemed like a gallon of coffee under there, dripping down the walls and oozing into the floorboards.
I sighed and sat back as I saw all the other things that needed cleaning while I was there. Something sticky, dog hair, and those dreaded dust bunnies.
The more I look, the less I want to do this, I thought.
We did not rot the floorboards by leaving that mess that seemed too big. Instead, we were knees to the floor, uncovering the darkest places so long ignored. And then the stubborn bunnies rose in protest, making it even harder. Oh, how they hurried and hunkered with each reach of the broom or rag. They fought to find their way back to the darkest corners, annoyed at being forced out and up.
So we tried harder, we took to chasing them down and wiping them out.
We were cleaning up the dark places, together.
It needed to be done.
It's much easier to walk away from those same kind of ignored places between us, the ones that itch at the subconscious and tug at the heart, the ones swept under rugs. But even when that goes on too long, unexpectedly but certainly, a destructive wind of change will blow in. The kind of blast that forces us to look under the bed and into the dark corners, because of all that shattered glass.
Then we lift up the rugs, letting up the dusty air, revealing what we've told ourselves is just fine the way it is when it's not.
It breaks the quiet that's not really peace after all.
It pulls the bunnies from under the rug and puts them in the palms of our hands where we cannot deny them, where we have to grasp them and then take them away from our home, from ourselves.
Sometimes we remember to keep working at a clean house, belly crawling and then grasping and releasing before it all gets out of hand.
At other times, we find ourselves strangely thankful for spilled coffee and broken glass, for the overwhelming messes that pull us down to the dark places, to take a look and make a change.
Happy Valentine's Day to my Sweetie, the guy who cleans up with me in so many ways. And Happy Valentine's Day to each of you. Thank you for being here.