2/14/11

one way or the other

{those of you who have been around awhile will recognize this post. It was originally posted on 9.23.09 and came to be known as The Dust Bunny post. I share it again today because it's Valentine's Day and so I'm reminded that love is best when the darkest places are uncovered.}



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.

xoxo

16 clicked right here to comment:

Jamie said...

I shared this on Facebook. I love it! I like the line "It breaks the quiet that's not really peace after all." Such a perfect description of how we can just fall into our own 'stuff' and leave our treasured partner out of it and then you look up and there's so much to say because you haven't said anything in so long. As always, thanks for sharing your gift!! Excellent!!

Sabrina said...

Happy Valentine's Day Heather! :)

tracy said...

Happy Valentine's Day. I love this. xo

mandiegirl said...

I remember reading this(vaguely), and at that time I was in such a dark, hard spot in my life and marriage. I'm so thankful that you posted this again, after we've done a lot of the reaching into hard spots, the ones that are truly so, so hard, that expose how much real work there is, but that really bind us together. It's really great reading this now, being on the other side. I'm sure we'll have hard times again, but we now know that it does & will get better & that it's worth working hard for.

Happy valentine's day heather. :)

Cathy said...

I am new to your blog although I've seen your comments everywhere. This post is really good - especially for Valentine's Day. Marriage is a tough thing at times. Those little dust bunnies can get at you. And the person that helps you clean them up - beautiful.

Ann Imig said...

Still find this post breathtaking, and especially interesting a year later.

Thanks.

xo

Laura said...

I'm still pretty new to your blog, so I missed this the first time, but the timing of it is impeccable for me. Thank you, again, for sharing a part of you that touches me so personally.

Kelly said...

This feels different to me -- just as beautiful and inspiring, but different -- in reading now and then. Isn't it amazing how even us grown-ups can change so dramatically in the span of time?

Keyona said...

I do remember this. It's funny how reading the same thing at a different point in your life can have a different feeling. Love ya chick.

trishatfox said...

Really good.

anymommy said...

Perfection. I get it. I've been down in those dark corners.

Jen said...

This is so gorgeous. Your writing. The metaphor. The truth. The stark honesty and beauty. One of your very best, Heather.

work in progress said...

"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."
I love this. It is so true. They are actually gifts, those messes. I just write about this and dubbed them a curious breed of angels.

Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts said...

This post takes on so much more meaning in light of your sobriety. The metaphor really holds up. I love it. Thanks for re-sharing.

Patois said...

Well worth repeating.

MidnightCafe said...

Yes, I remember this post, too. And here I am crying over it again today. Thank you, friend.

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