And when we do that, we may feel that we’ve escaped something. That we’ve avoided the responsibility and madness that cleaning a mess involves. Whether it’s a small piece of litter that we’ve allowed ourselves to move past as if we “didn’t realized” we dropped it or a large vase of shattered pieces that would simply be impossible to try cleaning up, let alone fixing, we don’t want any part of it and feel that we’ve lucked out when we’re able to get away with not addressing it. Many of us have actually convinced ourselves to feel like we’ve had a pretty mess-free life in that case, because we haven’t experienced much of the cleaning process, and we might have even forgotten for the time being that many of those messes exist.
But the thing is, they’re still there… and they’ve accumulated.
And despite the successful effort you’ve put into keeping people at a distance from the majority of your household and past paths traveled, you’re likely going to eventually meet someone who you’d like to share your life with, which means all of your possessions, your household, and yes- your past. At that point, you’re going to begin the process of making up for all of the effort in cleaning that you’ve evaded in the past by now having to put that effort into an exhausting and defeating attempt to constantly cover those things up. You’re going to spend so much time making sure that person doesn’t wonder into the wrong hallway and accidentally uncover something you’ve kept hidden and never wanted them to see, that you’re going to miss out on some good, quality time of actually enjoying the time with that person that you’ve been blessed with.
And it will be messy.
Not only will you have to address those past messes that you’ve forgotten, but you’ll be less capable of doing so in a productive way because they’ve lingered, molded, and become sticky over time. And now you’ve brought someone you love into it and forced them to have to be a part of the cleanup crew. They may come to resent you for it and it may not work out, in which case you’re left with past messes and a new one to clean up. Or they may be more than happy and understanding about it, but not without at least some mess coming from the fact that it’s affecting what was meant to be your time to enjoy together, which only adds to the pile to clean up. Either way, the mess is there. It does exist. And it will eventually touch parts of your life that you never wanted or expected it to.
But fortunately you have a choice, and you can avoid a stick situation later.
That’s right! You can slap on those cleaning gloves, grab that broom, get on your hands and knees, and pick up those pieces right then and there when that vase shatters or when that litter drops. Before you move forward, before you forget it even exists, you stop right there when it happens, and you invest the time to address it before it becomes a lost something just waiting to resurface at the worst possible timing. I mean, you don’t want something unrecognizable and sticky showing up right as you’re getting cozy with your guest, and not even having a clue as to what it is or where it came from because you did such a good job of pretending you didn’t see it before and allowing it to linger and brew all this time, do you?
I don’t think anyone wants that. No, that’s gross.
But what you’ll find is that it’s easy to do as you go along. You’ll feel better after picking up that dropped trash… maybe it wouldn’t have been the hugest deal to leave behind, but it certainly felt good to stop and just pick it up to know that there’s one less thing you’ll have to ever worry about later- it’s gone and won’t add to any future mess. And as you sit with your vase with the pieces scattered in front of you, there will be a variety of different emotions and experiences involved, sometimes all at once, and sometimes with different vases. You’ll notice pieces of the vase that you hadn’t noticed before that were either so beautiful or so obviously weak that you’ll realize it was only time before this vase fell apart. You’ll also realize that it may even be worthy and capable of salvaging when you thought it was a lost cause, or maybe when you sat down to fix it you realized it’s not able to be fixed and you actually don’t even care to anymore. In those cases, you’ll either learn to build something new- a mosaic- and appreciate the process, developing a sense of accomplishment and gratification when it’s finished and leaving it on display proudly, rather than attempting to hide it and leaving dangerous pieces laying about for those who dare to walk through your home… or you’ll learn to let it go, to truly let it go. You’ll see that it’s easy, or you’ll find that you need some time to cope and mourn the loss of a vase you loved, appreciated, and expected to always have as a part of your home… but you’ll ultimately be able to move on from it more strongly because you did take that time to clean it up and say goodbye. You may notice it’s absence from time-to-time, but the mess will no longer be there to stare you in the face and hurt you.
I’ve allowed messes to accumulate in my life. I used to be one of those people who felt like ignoring it, quickly sweeping it under the rug, and hiding it was not only easiest, but it was best- for myself and for all else. So I know what it’s like to face an accumulation of messes- it’s not fun, and it’s not easy! But it is inevitable. And I feel blessed to have become aware of this so that I could address them with my full attention and take the time to clean house. It was easy at times and it was difficult at others. There were many times when I would come across one of the stickier of the messes and have that “easy route” mindset once again, and be tempted to move past it with a blind eye. But fortunately, I’ve developed strength over time to be able to muster the motivation each time to force myself to sit, and pick that junk up. And I’m always so glad that I did.
I can now move forward along my path much more genuinely joyfully. There’s a sense of lightness and happiness that comes with knowing that there are no messes to worry about, nothing to hold me back, and that anyone I come across along my path is more than welcomed into my home! There’s more of an excitement for what’s to come than an anxiety or fear. No need to keep anyone I meet shut out for a bit while I try to cover up messes and ensure nothing’s peeking through before they come in. Just easy, joyful, and welcoming. Oh, and those refurbished vases on display? People honestly don’t ask as often as I’d expected, but when they do, I’m proud! And they’re impressed. And it’s not even remotely as embarrassing to have some vases that aren’t bright and shiny new on display as I’d mistakenly thought it would be in the past. In fact, it adds a really beautiful and unexpected character to my home that I appreciate, and so do those who love me.