Monday, March 19, 2012

Dust if you must

I don't know Mrs. Rose Milligan. I don't know where she's from and I don't know how old she is. But she wrote the following poem. I wish I had read it, and memorized it, years ago.
Dust if you must.
But wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed?
Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must.
But there is not much time
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear, and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must.
But the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes,the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come round again.
Dust if you must.
But bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go, and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust!
Okay, I'm not sure it would have actually changed anything.

But I would have blown it up to poster size and mounted it with permanent glue somewhere prominent in my house. Maybe even if a tiny bit rubbed off on me, it would be a good thing.

I was (am?) a compulsive house cleaner. I drove my little family of four c-r-a-z-y, wiping little finger smudges off every surface, re-making the beds when we were teaching our two little ones responsibility. You get the picture.

My house was spotless; perfect, actually. But I was always exhausted. I wish I had taken more time with my children, with my neighbors, family. I sometimes thought they were an interruption. They were anything but; they were treasures.

And did I permanently damage my children? I guess you would have to ask them.

Life is so short. I've been espeically aware of that recently.

I hope this inspires you today to do something wild, creative, contemplative, or even foolish. You won't be sorry.
Me? I need to go empty the dishwasher...
Just kidding!  I'm going out for a brisk walk. The dishwasher will still be there, and if I don't empty it, nobody will notice. Sure wish someone had told me that long ago. Or maybe they did, and I wasn't listening.

So here's to you, Mrs. Milligan.