Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, et vobis fratres, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, opere et omissione: mea culpa, mea culpa,mea maxima culpa. There is dust on my bookshelves and ceiling fan blades. Ora pro me.
I was thinking about the state of my dusty union a few minutes ago, as I sat down at my desk and moved a little stack of notepads and realized that the one on top had a note on it from roughly six months ago (in my defense, it’s still useful information–a quick note about how to log into one of the systems I occasionally use for work–so it’s not really something I want to get rid of)…and then further realized that, judging by the little dust outline that showed where the lifeless notepad had once laid, I should probably clear some time in my calendar to take a Swiffer to this desk.
…And if I’m going to be dusting, I should probably at least look generally in the direction of the bookshelves in my office…
…And the bookshelves in Moon Man’s office, and the bedroom, and the dining room, and the hall, and the living room…
…And make at least a perfunctory swipe at the ceiling fan blades, and the mantel, and the tops of all the doorframes, and the artwork…
…And then I got a little overwhelmed and decided to have a cup of coffee and write a blog post instead. I mean, c’mon, I have a meeting in 30 minutes, so this is not really the appropriate time to get all hung up on the dust-vs-dustless ratio of surfaces in the house…
…And besides, if we’re going to get all picky about dusting, we should probably at least consider talking about the laundry in the hamper that needs done, and is way more visible than the dust…
…And if we’re going to do laundry, we should probably figure out just exactly how long it’s been since the last time I took the Magical Cleaning Supplies tub to the laundry room and scrubbed down all the surfaces in there (I cannot, in fact, guarantee that there hasn’t been an intervening presidential election during that gap…I mean, I’ve done some perfunctory wipe-downs, but it’s been a minute since I actually scrubbed anything in there)…
…And y’know what? Who cares.
Here’s the thing: when people come to our home, I make sure there’s food on-hand. If they have particular dietary needs/preferences, I make sure the food is something that aligns with those restrictions. If you’re here around mealtime, I will rearrange our usual schedule if necessary to make sure there’s a hot meal on the table for you, and I will try to have at least one of your known favorite beverages at the ready. I will greet you with a hug and kiss, try my best to banish any distractions, and focus my entire energy on making sure you feel welcome, nurtured, and loved.
In other words, there may be dust on the bookshelves, but I will do everything in my power to make sure that you leave this place feeling so completely soul-warmed that it doesn’t even cross your mind to wonder whether I’d spent any time tidying up for your arrival (hint: I probably didn’t. Sorry).
Basically, I try to live my life by this philosophy:
We’re taught from a very early age that quantity is everything. If you have one dollar, you’re told that you should have fifty. If you have one friend, you should have a hundred. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. You’re not supposed to work hard and win a medal; you’re supposed to work hard and win all the medals, then win all the trophies, then win all the trophies in all the competitions in the entire world, then be crowned Emperor of All Things and rule with a benevolent but unyielding will.
You’re supposed to have your choice of all possible mates, then pick the best of the lot and settle down in a palatial estate and raise some magazine-ideal children who will eventually (inevitably) compete in 27 billion competitions, win them all, be geniuses, decline the Nobel Prize because of some complicated political stance, and eventually pay for you to have round-the-clock in-home nursing care from the best doctor in the entire history of medicine. You’re to be accompanied at all times by your faithful AKC Best in Show dog who can make you sandwiches and knows how to use the remote control to turn on your favorite shows.
And there shouldn’t be a speck of dust anywhere in this entire picture.
And y’know what? Screw that noise.
I don’t want a magazine-ready house; I want a home where people are comfortable. I want dinners that feature exactly zero fussy garnishes, but will stick to your ribs and make your grandmother’s ghost drop by to ask for the recipe. I want people to know without feeling obligated to ask that yes, you may absolutely sit on that couch, and you may scratch what itches and laugh heartily and be your perfectly imperfect self.
We’re not on this planet to live a life with a daily calendar so jam-packed with hustle and bustle that we forget why we’re doing any of it at all, is what I’m saying. We’re not here to beat ourselves up for only having a dollar to donate to the charity we support. We’re not here to spend all our time running around in little circles, trying to be more and do more and give more.
We’re here to bring maximum amounts of love into our lives and the lives of the people we meet. We’re here to spread joy. We’re here to do unto others, let others do unto us, and celebrate all the messy and gleeful and hilarious and ridiculous and memorable and remarkable moments we can get our hands on.
We are here to do everything we can from a place of love, no matter how much or how little that may be, and if that means we don’t find time to dust the bookshelves, then so be it. The dust will still be there tomorrow, and maybe we’ll have some spare time and a handy dustrag then.
But missing the chance to make someone smile from their soul? That’s unforgivable in my book.
So consider yourself warned: if you visit the Buffalo Moon Ranch, you will probably come away with dog hair on your clothes and there may be dust on the book I loan you…but hopefully you will also come away with a smile on your face and song in your heart. I may not be able to do everything to keep this place spotless, and I may not be able to help everyone I meet, but I will try my best to make sure your soul is fed and that everything I do accomplish is done in love.
And for that, I’m totally prepared to keep a lint roller ready in case you have someplace fancy to go after you leave here.