When All Else Fails

I clean when I’m stressed. And when I’m emotional. I clean when there’s nothing else to do, when there’s too much to do and when I don’t know where to start. I’ve been known to clean before I can fall asleep, in the middle of the night, and before I begin my day. Mostly I sweep, but occasionally I’ll scrub – depends on the size of the funk to shake. I start with the dishes, and move past the counter tops down to the floor. Sometimes there’s music, ideally there’s wine, but usually it’s just snapping at the dog to stay one step ahead, hoping someone’s following with a dustpan, and back and forth, back and forth, a strange sort of sterile tornado like a frenzy across the floor.

It’s a coping mechanism I suppose. The tangible sense of accomplishment, the soothing rhythm, the physical effort.

Because I can’t know the answers, and because I no longer know how to quell fears in the absence of those answers.  Turns out I’m out I’m not great at summoning patience in the face of the unknown. And I waste a lot of time hoping. I trick myself into believing that throwing some good energy into the universe is the best we can do, that karma has our back.

And it does. And we really are ok. And in the grand scheme – hell even in the small scheme – we’re better than ok. We’re luckier than most, more capable than quite a few. It’s just the blemish on the surface of a really great life. And all that from cleaning.

Still, I really would like to know who gets to stack the deck. I want to believe we have the slightest control. I harbor a hunch that it’s just blind luck, but I wouldn’t mind a glimpse of the hand I’ve been dealt. Just so I know how to best play my cards.  Void of all super powers and unable to predict the future, I sweep. It offers control when I’m most vulnerable and powerless. I can conquer the dust, and that’s wholly satisfying. How pathetic. It’s tangible progress in a slow turning world and I’ll take what I can get.

And then he shows up with flowers, and fresh born peeps, and I remember why. Turns out irises look totally stellar on a fresh cleaned table. Lucky me.

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