409 the heart. Mop & Glo the soul.

Toxic

You know that feeling?  The one you have when you’re about to make a horrible decision?  The one you’ve convinced yourself you have to make because there are no other options (even though there are)?

I had that feeling nearly four years ago.

We had decided to take on a new renter while we lived abroad in Brazil.  We knew she was off.  That she was prickly.  That her all-too-nice exterior was covering something toxic.  But, instead of bolting in the other direction, we signed on the dotted line.

The dotted line that stole our peace

AND

our sanity.

The woman who moved into our home (I specify that it was a home.  We had made it that way.  We had loved it that way.) was a horribly sad case.

This week she finally left.

This week we went to assess the damage.

This week we found a revolting reality.

Our home, now just a slab and walls, had become a sub-standard shelter.  A place without life.  Without soul.  Without love.

Looking around, I felt sick and angry and completely overwhelmed.

I can’t do this.

Where do I even begin? 

What’s the financial cost?  The emotional?? 

AND

Is it even worth it?

One look to my husband confirmed that it was, so I started toward the kitchen and opened the fridge.

There was a strong waft of Y.U.C.K against my cone mask.

Worse than I thought.

I removed all the shelving, the bins, the ice maker and started sudsing.  And, after four hours, I stepped back to admire my work:

It. Was. Like. New.

Like the neglect and indolence never happened.

Like she never happened. And I smiled at the thought of it.

Then stepped outside of myself and felt utterly cruel.

And realized…

all that time I’d spent hating her, I should have been praying for her.  Because for her to become the person she is must have required horrible neglect and indolence on the part of those who were supposed to love her.  To protect her.  To shelter her.

And I felt something for her then that I’d never felt: compassion

How much easier it would be if we could just 409 our hearts and Mop & Glo our souls.  If we could be made new, with some sudsy water and some serious elbow grease, like my lovely fridge??  And then I realized…

We can.

Anything that is loved can be restored.  Perhaps it won’t be exactly as it was before.  Perhaps we won’t be as we were before. And maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe what could make us bitter should instead make us better.

Perhaps it would be good for her to know that.

I don’t know if we’ll move back, if we’ll rent again or if we’ll sell.

And really…it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I know now that things are not always what they seem.  And that, oftentimes, the experiences that test the most, teach the most, as well.

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  One thought on “409 the heart. Mop & Glo the soul.

  1. September 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Good writing. Good logic. Good hearted.

    • September 17, 2013 at 2:31 am

      Thank you for your sweet comment, Cindy.

      Happy writing!!

  2. Heather Talken
    September 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I have found myself doing this very exercise in the last couple of years. I remind myself that everyone has their own battles and hardships within their lives and I need to remain compassionate, try to see through their eyes. We become all too consumed with ourselves that we can lose sight of the realities of life. Keep the perspective and please keep sharing your heart and soul with us followers; we can all use some good old fashioned kindness once in a while for inspiration! Much love!!!

    • September 17, 2013 at 2:46 am

      It’s hard to do sometimes, I know, but always worth it. So glad to know that you’ve been doing the same and have gained insight in what is/isn’t worth the worry beads. Thank you for following my heart and soul.

      Love the love.

  3. Linda Kirschner
    September 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Another fantastic article by the one and only DM! So proud of the way you turned this experience around. Through God’s love we are transformed and made new. Through Him we learn forgiveness and compassion. He is our “Mr. Clean”…!

  4. September 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Mm. Goodness. Thank you. ❤ You really take us on a journey. I read it once to myself & then shared it w my mom & loved reading it again.

    • September 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Awww, did you? I’m so glad you shared in it together. How special you both are to me.

      Thank you.

  5. Janelle Schenher
    September 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    But seriously???? That really happened??? Wow, girl!

    • September 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Really, J. It did.

      Tell me about it, love.

  6. September 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Dani, your lovely way with words shines through, as always! SO glad you started this blog and are keeping it up! You are an inspiration!
    Much love,
    Ginny 🙂

    • September 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Thank you, Ginny girl. You fill my cup.

      You. Really. Do.

  7. Bruna Pellegrin
    September 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    E incrivel a forma que voce consegue expressar os sentimentos de uma forma que cabe para tantas situacoes. Obrigada por dividir este Dom conosco. Ler teus textos me ajudam a compreender e trabalhar muitas coisas. Me apaixono por todas as formas de expressao que colocas no papel. Leio, releio e sempre me encanto ..

    • September 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Bru, I was SO touched by this! Thank you for the beautiful way you expressed yourself here.

      I am so glad that my words give you perspective and help you see yourself and others differently.

      More than that…I’m so glad I get to call you my friend.

  8. September 4, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Now THAT was THE insight! Mama led you, Sis…for it is the richest outsides that oft are haunted by just such an inside…

    …the first shall be last, and the last first…
    the weak shame the strong, and the foolish the wise…
    those who die shall live and those who run to live shall die
    the least will be the greatest and the greatest the least, and finally…

    …Jeremiah 31:22: How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter?
    For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth—A woman shall encompass a man.”

    Mama’s words to me, to that inner “renter” that I was not so long ago…

    • September 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Beautiful ❤

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