Rats. It’s not winter anymore, which is just the worst time to do it. It’s not spring either, with rainy days and inconsistent temperatures. No – it’s the middle of summer. Temps are warm, it’s dry outside, the air conditioner is running which will remove any humidity in the house. It’s time, doggone it – time to clean the carpets. Outside of trying to change a beeping smoke detector battery on a 15-foot ceiling, I can’t think of a more disliked household task than carpet cleaning. I know, I know, it sounds like I am whining, which I am doing, and doing very well by the way, but cleaning the carpet is just an icky job. First of all, there are always incredibly high expectations that the result of the cleaning will be supremely beautiful carpets, like you see on TV, when of course, they are cleaning brand new carpets with special dirt that is easily removed – it’s not carpeting that is a number of years old, and traffic worn in some places, so that even if you do clean the thing, it’s still going to look far worse that the carpet that has been carefully hidden under the couch for these years. Secondly, when you agree to the task, you immediately realize how much STUFF you have in your home! Where did all of this furniture, and knickknacks and STUFF come from, and why is it all right in the way of where the carpet is, that needs cleaning? Thirdly, and I will admit this is on me – we made the tactical error a couple of years ago, that rather than having someone come to the house and invade it, and bring in huge equipment, which also means we have to lock up the cats in a room for hours on end while they succeed in soaking every square inch of the floor with water and chemicals (and then they say, “Be sure to stay off the floor until it dries, in about five days…), we opted to buy our own carpet cleaning machine. What a great idea! We could then decide when we wanted to clean the carpet ourselves, and how much we wanted to clean. In fact, we probably will clean the carpet more often than hiring it done, and it’s really cheaper, and…
I find it remarkable how easy it is to talk ourselves into making a decision that appears so right and brilliant on the surface, but when you get down to the actual living out of that choice, you realize that just maybe, you could have chosen differently. And it’s not a choice of whether you want to order a breakfast omelet or a patty melt sandwich at the restaurant. Those choices, even though they indeed are earthshaking, still somehow fade quickly. When you decide to purchase your own carpet cleaner, however, it’s the gift that keeps on giving – or taking… it is way too convenient to put off forever, even if deep in your heart, you would almost consider ripping up the carpet and just pouring a concrete floor in its place.
Here’s how the discussion goes: “When was the last time we cleaned the carpet? It sure is looking a bit dull…” “We really should clean the carpet some time.” “When should we clean the carpet? These traffic areas are kind of dirty.” “We HAVE to clean the carpet – I’m embarrassed by it…” “I guess I’ll just pull out the carpet cleaner and do it myself…” “What are you doing this week, now that you are retired? It sure would be nice to have the carpet look clean…” I should say that the conversation is not really a conversation – it’s just a verbal effort to take the future “sometime” and toss it over the cliff of “right now.” And the truth is, there is no good excuse to putting it off, and it will look much better after it’s all over, and the carpet will last longer, and – the best part of it all? Once it’s done “we” won’t have to clean it for a good long time to come.
I guess that’s the case with any chore. I know there are some strange people in this world who truly like to wash and clean and dust and do carpets, but most of us, I suspect, would love to have little fairies or elves do it all for us while we are out deciding between the omelet or the patty melt. The word, “chore,” we all know is that unpleasant, routine or difficult task. It’s not a “may do,” or “could do” – it’s a “shall do,” or “must do.” For most of us, living out the freedom of life is far more enjoyable than being tied to the responsibilities of life. Still, I would imagine that if all we had were freedom, it in itself might become the burden, and we even might find ourselves longing for something to do that changes the world for the better. Taking on the work of life makes things more relevant, makes us more relevant, and even significant, and in the end, offers us the doorway to joy. Strange paradox, but I believe it’s true.
Excuse me – it’s time to move some chairs, get some hot water to pour in the machine, and become joyful! Yippee.
Word for the day. Inspire. One of my favorite words, for a couple of reasons. One, it is of course, Latin, for “breathe into” In -spirare. Secondly, it is a word that so often is used in our world without most folks understanding it is a word of faith. It means, “the Spirit of God flowing into us.” When I am “inspired,” I am filled with passion and energy to do that next big thing. Actually, the Holy Spirit is moving in me to do and be more than I could ever be by myself. Of course, the opposite of inspire is expire, which is when the Spirit is gone, and of course, I am dead. Inspire me today, O God.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.