Washing the Floor and Life Lessons

I hate washing the floor!

I do my best to put it off as long as I can before I am finally forced to get out the bucket and get to work. It’s not outlandish to see the golden life lessons that can come from getting down on all fours with a bucket of hot soapy water. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself and life in a mere 45 minutes.

Procrastination = persistence
I will come up with as many excuses as I can to put off washing my floor. “We’re not expecting any overnight guests. So why bother.” or “I have to clean out my closet to collect clothing for charity first.” or “I have a novel to edit” and on and on it goes. But just because we put something off does not mean it will go away. It just persists, and nags at us, until we can’t ignore it any longer. If that dripping faucet is not fixed, the water will just keep soaking the counter. The thing is that many of us tend to wait until that last minute before making a move. Why is that? There always seems to be plenty of time to put things off. And yet, persistence, though aggravating, inevitably wins in the end.

Difficult = Discipline
It’s damn tough work to wash a floor! I’m not talking about using some fancy automated sweeping device to clean comfortably from an upright position. I am referring to the getting down on the ground and dragging yourself step by step on all fours, as you cleanse each and every square inch. There is hardly joy in this act. The potent fumes of cleaning solution swishing around in a bucket of hot water is enough to discourage anyone from tackling the task. And then there are those nasty stains. I cannot for the life of me figure out what most of those grimy dark spots are. But continuously ignoring them only heaps on more disgust as once tiny flat droplets become a mountain of blech! Yet, we must recognize here that there is genuine that good comes from hard work. It teaches strength and discipline. It is the discipline of sticking with something and fulfilling it on our own that makes us better people.

Menial = Pride
Ugh! If I had great wealth, I would love to purchase some kind of fantastical flooring that either never gets dirty or somehow cleans itself. I mean give me a toilet to sparkle or a garbage to empty. But washing the floor? Problem is when it’s YOUR home, no one else is going to do it. All it takes is for someone to not so tactfully state, “Ah, wasn’t that stain there like five months ago?” To which I would plainly reply, “Ah yeah, I was just trying to see how long it could stay there, you know kinda like an experiment in time. Funny right?” Typically, a nervous laugh and change of subject follows. Taking pride in your own home also fosters something else… a confidence in your ability to get the job done!

Humbling = appreciation?
Do you think Jennifer Aniston or Gwyneth Paltrow wash their own floors? I sincerely doubt it. Well I’m no celebrity and I don’t sit perched on high… but I fully recognize the necessity of humbling myself once and a while. Every one of us could use a healthy dose of that. People travel all over the world to gain insight into their own lives. To see life from a different perspective is tremendously important. It teaches us how to live and grow and become better people being more considerate and generous to those less fortunate than ourselves. But you don’t have to travel far and wide to get a headshake like that. Something as simple as feeling your aching muscles being put to the test while bending down on all fours can open your eyes to what hardship and struggle for others really means. There is something earthy and personal in the movement of your arm up and down, applying pressure to a spot, getting down in there and watching that darkness just fade away from all your effort. I know it does not even compare to the ongoing anguish those in war torn countries face or poverty-stricken families must undergo. What it does do is knock us down a few notches in our comfortable life and open our eyes to the fact real suffering does exists in our world and longer than a mere 45 minutes on the floor.

Accomplishment = Happiness
There are grand accomplishments that can open our eyes to our own abilities and bring tremendous pride: A Masters Degree; a successful business venture; publishing a book. But even the small things are worth celebrating. Think of a toddler who tries time and again to stack wooden blocks. Each time one falls, the child picks it up without hesitation and tries again. And this continues until finally all those blocks are standing tall and sturdy. The child doesn’t know anything about the politics of the world. He/she cannot define determination. But they fully understands what it means to achieve something on your own. It’s a great feeling! Accomplishment spills over into pride, joy, a lightness of heart. Sadly it may follow that your efforts perhaps go unnoticed or unappreciated by anyone else. But personal goals achieved are never anything but extraordinary.

And so now that its clean I sit back content. It might not be high up there in priority or success, but to me… it matters.

Thanks for reading my 30th post! 🙂

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