I send them out to clean the veranda. To wipe away the trailing threads of last years busy arachnids. To clean for spring. So out they go, cloths and brooms in hand but with their minds on other things. Just doing what their mother asks. And it takes them all of about five minutes.

I call them back and from the kitchen window I point out the mess still there. The mess that can only be seen by looking up. The mess that is hiding in the crevices of the ceiling. Oh, they say. We didn’t notice.

Out they go again, with brooms high above their heads this time. Looking up and cleaning the rest.

And it makes me think of the messes in my life, the hidden garbage that dangles out of sight above my head. And of the time I spend just doing what I’m told, my mind on other things. Doing my job, cleaning what is in front of me, but ignoring what is less obvious.

It can fill a day, a life … doing the least that I can get away with. If I don’t look up, that is.


So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

from tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom


This post was first published two years ago. Time flies. The boys and I have been spring cleaning again this past week. I’m reminded that these are things that happen, over and over. And the spiders return with their webs and the mess, and I still need to remember to look up.