From one hallowed truth to another we carefully step and stumble. Step and stumble. Probing further and further into the dark corners and dusty places we have overlooked since we moved in.

Those sweet days of unpacking and sorting and moving in. A place for everything and everything in its place. Which pictures to hang and which closets for storage, and which things can go. Fresh paint, fixing doors, and outlets, and sharp places in the carpets. Till it’s all done and settled. And good. It is the kind of hard work that feels good to the soul. That when you finish you have something. Something that reflects both the value of your time and the value of the objects with which you fill your life.

This kind of reset needs to be done every few years. For the creep of clutter and complacency are relentless. We learn to live with and expect the failures of our lives and we don’t bother to fix them. The door that won’t open properly. The stack of boxes in the garage. The hose with the leak. And the stain on the carpet. Whereupon do those little unfinished tasks, those eyesores, become invisible to our daily eyes? We continually walk past them and over them and put them off for later.

And what brings about the last modicum of patience for the broken, the stained, the messy which then pushes us to clean, and organize, and replace. What brings about the snap from tolerance to frustration and on to active improvement. When living with the problem becomes more difficult a task than fixing it. That balance of power moving from one side to another. As always our paths are determined by what is easiest, the most peaceful, the least likely to uncover more problems.

A new experience can sometimes jar us awake to our own drifting standards of what is acceptable. A step into a newly painted room, when the light from clean windows hits the wall, and the floor is clean and empty. Sometimes I stop after emptying and painting a room and sit in it. Just being in the newness and the bright emptiness. Or after resetting the furniture and hanging the pictures, I will sit and just be there and enjoy the rightness of it.

So much of this summer I have spent on these resetting activities. Getting rid of things I no longer need, re-purposing cabinets and drawers and closets, so re-ordering my life so that it works for us now. And in every space I clean, in every space, I find work that needs to be done. Somehow the dust has found it’s way into every place. I was blind to it as it happened. I didn’t see it until I started looking.



Published by

Sara Quah

Writer, singer, songwriter. Find me @SaraBQuah. Listen to my music at saraquah.com.

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