“What are you up to today, Mom?” I asked.
“Weeelll, I have the vacuum cleaner out. I need to vacuum the living room.”
I don’t know the number of times those two sentences were included in a phone conversation with my mom. I lived five hours away from her. Many times when I visited her I would walk in her house and see the vacuum cleaner sitting in the middle of her living room. She would tell me she planned to vacuum before I arrived, but just didn’t get it done. I would vacuum for her and put the vacuum cleaner in the closet.
At first, I thought she hated to vacuum, and she knew I would do it for her when I arrived. I am not sure when the clarity came to me that explained the real reason she never seemed to do the vacuuming. She was in her 80’s and living alone. Daily tasks were becoming more than she could handle on her own and the thought of vacuuming had become an overwhelming chore. One she could no longer manage. I think she looked at it. I think she wanted to vacuum and clean the dirt from her life. But she couldn’t.
Mom spent her last few years in an assisted living community. Her apartment was cleaned for her. She stopped talking about the need to vacuum the living room. The vacuum stayed in the closet. She never mentioned it again.
I still think of that vacuum cleaner sitting in the middle of her living room. I wonder how many of us have one in the middle of our room. In the middle of our life. It may not look like a vacuum, but the meaning is the same. A task that seems overwhelming. A project that we feel like we will never accomplish. A skill we are certain we cannot master. A hurt from our past that we don’t want to deal with. And so the vacuum sits there.
We think about it. We know it needs to be done. We want to do it. But the size and scope of it overwhelms us. The idea becomes a large frightening monster that we hope someone else will handle. Or we give up on ever having the ability to accomplish it. We feel inadequate. We don’t believe we will ever be good enough to do the job. Our fear and insecurity grow.
The project sits there right in the middle of the room. We walk around it. We throw a blanket over it to hide it. We ignore it and wish our desire to accomplish it will diminish.
But it is there. We trip over it. We stub our toe on it. We move it around to keep it out of our way. But it never leaves.
Fill in the blank with what your desire is. A new job. A new relationship. A college degree. Painting your house. Or is it something personal like rebuilding a bridge from your past? Apologizing or clearing out some internal trauma. What do you want to accomplish that you feel you aren’t good enough to do? If you stare at the vacuum in the middle of the room long enough without trying, soon years will go by. There will come a time when you can’t physically or mentally do it.
Don’t wait. Stop tip-toeing around the issue. Do one thing today that puts you one step closer to moving that vacuum. Make one phone call. Research one class. Create a budget and begin saving for that trip. Write a letter of apology. Schedule an appointment. Do one thing that sets a plan in motion.
As for me, what am I up to today, you might ask…
I have some vacuuming to do.
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Pennie’s Life Lesson:
Open your eyes to see the vacuum in the middle of your life.
Take one step that puts you on the path of dealing with it.
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#CornerofSpiritandBrave #loveyourlifenomatterwhat #journeythrough #PennieHunt #YouAreGoodEnough
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There is a certain magic about where I live both physically and spiritually – on the crossroads of Spirit and Brave.
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