Imperfection Guaranteed

I enjoy spring cleaning, and even more, the result. All the stuff I ignore when it’s too cold out to be motivated to clean, all that is musty and dusty, is replaced by clean freshness and everything seems brighter.


Well, I don’t know about you, but that only lasts for a while…suddenly, it’s August. August follows July, of course; I think July is absolutely the hardest month for me to get through. I don’t do well with heat. On top of that, stuff is going undone not only in the house, but also in the garden, because of the heat.

Fortunately, we’ve been having a reprieve from the heat these past few days. Around this time of year, I like to tackle a some of those things I’ve let slip over the summer weeks and months.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been remarking that it smells like rotten bananas in our minivan. My husband, at first, was saying,”I don’t smell anything.” When it got worse, my daughter went on a mission to discover the source of the odor. She found an old vinyl tarp that had mildewed in the back of the van, and we threw it out. Although the tarp did smell of rotten bananas (weirdly), removing it did not solve our problem. It seemed to be growing worse over the past 4 days.

This canister was long overdue for a cleaning

This canister was long overdue for a cleaning

So, today, Renee and I went on a veritable cleaning frenzy. We washed about 7 loads of laundry- towels, clothes, dog bedding- you name it. We cleaned windows and floors, containers, and…the minivan. Renee started the van cleaning detail without me, and called my attention to what she found. Sure enough, there was a canvas shopping bag under a pile of reusable shopping bags, and guess what was in it?!? I’ll spare you the gory details except to say that tiny living things found the rotten bananas before we did.

cloth bags rescued from the van and awaiting a wash

cloth bags rescued from the van and awaiting a wash

Here’s the thing: even when it seems like someone like me “has it all together,” (funny for me to even imagine!) there are things like rotten bananas in our minivans, dirty laundry in the basement, unshaven legs, too much dessert, a facebook obsession, a selfish or rude remark to someone we love- we’re just not perfect, ever. Someone once told me that if human beings aspire to sainthood, they are, in fact, capable of attaining perfection; but I don’t buy it! Someone else said that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” That’s more like it, I think.

I do an exercise with my health coaching clients that helps identify areas in their lives that are out of balance. Balance is a great objective. Yet, even this goal can be misguided if we think perfect, on-going balance is attainable. So what should we strive for? Balance, maybe, but how about grace and forgiveness? (Even, and maybe especially, for ourselves.)

drying shopping bags in the sun

drying shopping bags in the sun

By the way, I’ve heard that the hot summer sun is a great disinfectant. I hope it really is.

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