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Clear the Clutter

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Each month, I comb the annals of my daily experiences, searching for some profound and unique event that will supply me with an interesting and compelling topic to share with you.

I’ve been torn and twisted in so many different directions over the past thirty days. I’m not sure I can even accurately recall said events from my life. My routines have been uprooted. I’ve been in seven different states. And while I haven’t visited an amusement park, I swear I’ve been on a nonstop roller coaster ride.

So, when I begrudgingly dipped into the contents of a to-do list around the house that had been sitting stagnant for quite some time, I should have known that the opposite of what I thought I needed would end up being the perfect inspiration for our time together this month.

Well water looks clean and healthy as it spreads itself across our Florida lawn through precisely aligned sprinkler nozzles. Until those said sprinklers go out of alignment and spray onto the side of a stucco house or vinyl fence. Over time, the iron deposits in the water oxidize, creating unsightly rust. I had tried every approach to get rid of it: fancy cleaners, pressure washing, scrubbing with a sponge, even bleach. Nothing worked. Those stains persisted. So, when I came across a product that everyone touted as a surefire solution, I was skeptical. As I mixed up the solution, I set it aside in the sun to completely dissolve. Truthfully, part of me wanted to make sure it dissolved, and the other part wanted to live with the anticipated hope that this would actually work for a few more minutes.

So, I moved onto chore number two on the loathe to-do list: picking weeds. And at that instant, the aha moment for this entire chat settled upon me. Yep, the premise for this entire month’s virtual visit has to do with pulling weeds. Pretty profound event, huh? But that, ironically, is the point.

I watched the weeds in our front beds spread and grow over several weeks. It niggled at me, time and again, each time I saw them, but I chose to do nothing about it, as if the magic weed pulling fairy would greet our house overnight and carry away the offending tendrils with him or her. It’s sort of like a Santa Claus for homeowners. You believe, right?

It wasn’t until I was left with no other good option but to pick those weeds that I experienced an elusive feeling: satisfaction. I only embraced the thought of ridding our beds of those pesky weeds when it became the lesser of two evils, and in this case, that greater evil was procrastinating finding out whether a solution would finally rid my walls of rust.

I sat there, listening to music, and carefully extracting each offending growth. And as every single one emerged from deep in the ground, the clutter was cleared, slowly but surely. It wasn’t a perfect process. There were some obstinate weeds that refused to give in, and I know that they will return in time. But there were plenty others that I know will not be coming back. And isn’t that the way life is? We might make a choice to do something, and we try our best, but it doesn’t always mean that we get the exact results we want. It goes back to that old adage about focusing on the process instead of the results. It applies as much in our mental and emotional world as it does in the flower beds of our home. Clearing the clutter gives us a sense of satisfaction. But even more so, it provides a fertile place for healthier thoughts to grow.

After this welcome realization, I stared at that now fully dissolved mixture that was supposed to rid my walls of rust. It was time to embrace the process and let go of my control over the results. As I sprayed the solution on the affected areas of my vinyl fence and stucco walls, I watched with bated breath as the droplets ran down each surface, carrying the rust with it. Sometimes it takes a long while to find a solution that works. But at other times, it’s simply by fully immersing ourselves in the apparent mundanity of a moment that we are most surprised by what we learn. And how that gives us the best opportunity to grow anew in fertile soil.


Would you like to connect with Dave and learn more about his daily thoughts and life as an author? Join his community and be the first to share a sip of caffeine for the soul each month!

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