Every Day the Dust Comes Back

woman in frustration at dust
Every day the dust comes back. I see it first thing in a slant of sunlight. The dust has returned despite yesterday’s efforts.
Grabbing my cleaning supplies, I begin again to remove the thin film on furniture and floors. The hood over the stove is the worst. Grease mixed with the stuff of dust makes paste. It would rather smear than disappear.
I think about Sisyphus pushing boulders that in the end will crush him if he doesn’t get out of the way. Live to find futility another day. Why do I bother, knowing that the clean won’t stay

Beaten by the Peanut Butter

It’s like being beaten by peanut butter.

Once, when full swing into raising kids, I was making the PBJ sandwiches with that organic stuff. You know, the jar of peanut paste which has a layer of grease on top. Evidently, healthful eating means you’re going to have to work for your food. Thanks a lot, Eve and Adam.


So I began to wrestle the all-natural peanut butter into submission. First, I tried stirring in the oil which immediately heaved itself out of the jar like a rolling ocean displaced by a giant rudder. Undeterred, I slashed my knife deep into the unwieldy bog of organic matter, coaxing some of the oil to sink and soften the clay. Alternately stabbing deep then pulling up, I started to lose my grip. The jar slipped with the force of my efforts and shot to the floor. Of course, the oily mess went everywhere.


After some cursing, I reached to salvage what was left in the jar and dug out a chunk. I transported it to the slices of bread lying open and expectant like a hungry bird on the plate. Only this was no ordinary bread. It was organic whole wheat with a few other grains thrown in for mom satisfaction. Most likely the kids would complain about the grit but I refused to acknowledge it.


I began spreading the semi-greased peanut silt. I saw that even this hearty bread possibly made by peasants from another era was going to disintegrate with the force required for spreading. Like paste, the peanut butter grabbed the bread and held on, lifting and digging holes as it went.


I surrendered, cursing my first ancestors again.‘You win,’ I muttered and I found the hidden jar of Jif. I sighed as I spread its sugary smoothness across the bread. I had tried to do right, being choosy and fighting the good fight. But the wider world of disarray and futility had beaten me. Utility won the day.

Ground Hog Day

Think about entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. A gradual decline into disorder is the house rule. Increasing disintegration runs the universe. Why do I try to sweep up the pieces and put them back together again and again?
Because of the movie starring Bill Murray in which each morning takes him in an endless time-loop of the day before Ground Hog Day.
After freaking out at first, he begins to use his new time-prison to express the worst parts of his nature. As each new day dawns, the same scenes repeat and he is mean, lustful, and gluttonous.
He eventually works within his confines to improve himself. Piano lessons and poetry reading begin to win him the woman he wants. Shockingly, even these cosmetic changes are not enough to fix his bad character which confronts him at the end of the day.
Still, as the days roll out in monotony, our anti-hero begins to try simple kindnesses for their own sake. Caring for others has a transformative effect on him. True love wins the day and breaks the spell. Time moves on and we recognize the grace of these recurring days in which the Patience of the Universe gives him space and time to become our hero.

Mercy in the Morning

dawn on a beachThere are Bible verses in which Saint Peter reminds his antsy flock that the Lord is not slow in keeping His promises. With Him, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day. God’s not slow, He’s patient, wanting us all to turn and head His direction.


We get a new chance every morning. For most of us, it will probably take a lifetime of repeats until we get a clue.


Every day the dust comes back. But so does the dawn. And I begin to see it in a different light.

7 thoughts on “Every Day the Dust Comes Back”

  1. Boy, did I need to read this today. If we define hobbies as those things we spend most of our time doing them apparently my hobby is cleaning the kitchen…over and over again. But this blog is written proof that somebody else out there feels that same Ground Hog Day sensation. I’m not alone. Thank you!

  2. Pain and suffering….almost a year ago I found myself in the ER with chest pain. I spent the night cardiac ward… my blood work taken every few hours; I didn’t sleep. The oldest hospital in Oklahoma…. Cross on the wall….I asked myself….am I living right? I’d this it??? Morning prayer through the speakers…ok God….what do you want me to do? The answer wasn’t so clear. I prayed and prayed and I’m still praying a year later. However, I quit my stressful job, aerospace…and am dedicated to finding what gifts I can give, my talents, and if course….the woman I want to be…..ohhhhh….help!?

      • Being a task-oriented, I can do anything I put my mind to type of woman, I guess I expect the answers in the same obvious way. Maybe Im praying wrong or the answers are right in front of me. I like your piece and song on breathing. It reminded me of when I used to row nearly every day on the Schuylkill in Philly. Not just breathing, but the timing of it all, in synch with the rowing stroke….power in the drive ..relax at the finish. My coach got on to me for not relaxing enough or even enjoying ” steady state”. I argued with her, I don’t do anything in my life steady state! :). Rowing 40 miles a week also meant massages. My therapist would actually breathe with me and the knots would vanish. Our bodies want to heal themselves she said. Learn to breathe. Yes ma’am. I know that calm waters never a good rower make….life without struggle or clear answers a good Christian?

  3. Steady state, about a 16, drove me nuts. But I didn’t realize I was training my muscles for memory and that at race time, steady state played a big role. When you’re in a single, it’s just you, two oars and the boat. Oh, and your constant analytical mind…..making adjustments with every stroke, it might seem tiresome…but not to us. The start and finish of a race is important, however mastering the grove of your steady state amped up a bit is key. The consistency, the rhythm…there’s nothing like it. It’s the core segment I imagine of your life. And speaking of that, at 6am just you and your oars, inches from the water watching the sun crest over the hill…..it doesn’t get any more spiritual than that. In that moment I know God is good, I am happy and today is going to be a great day. My younger self wouldn’t appreciate it, but there is something to be said about taking in a quiet moment, filling your lungs with the air that surrounds you. Exhaling… and thankful just for that.


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