I need to clean the floor. I’ve known this for two days but haven’t gotten to it yet. I could embellish and tell you how busy I am, but for sure I could have at least squeezed in cleaning the kitchen floor. While I was procrastinating again this evening (no one cleans their floors on Saturday night, right?), I had a few thoughts.
I have a beautiful, new, red oak kitchen floor that extends into my living and dining rooms. It’s warm and inviting, and the perfect canvas to the color palette that makes up my first floor. Of all the difficult choices and disagreements my husband and I had while building our new home, the kitchen floor was not one of them. We both love this floor.
Each time I clean my kitchen floor, I feel a sense of pride. I am lucky to have this floor. It represents so many things for me. I notice the little dings that have lightly decorated it during its first year of life in my home. A ding from when I dropped a can of coconut milk while cooking for friends. Another from something heavy that dropped the day we moved in. A serious group of small dings next to the lazy-susan where my son dropped his fish tank rocks while cleaning the tank (why was he cleaning the fish tank in my sterile kitchen, anyway???). These marks are now part of the history of this home and this family. They mean that life is going on here.
I think about the wonderful people who have already stepped across my floor during the past year. The meals, the laughs, the celebrations, the arguments, the love.
The friend who won’t ever walk across my floor again.
I think about my mom who scrubbed floors for extra money while raising me and my siblings. How many floors has she cleaned? Did those people know the woman who was cleaning their floors needed the money for Christmas gifts? I remember her cleaning our kitchen floor on her hands and knees growing up. No mop, just her hands, a rag and a bucket of hot water and vinegar. I own three mops, including a pretty fancy one. But I prefer cleaning my floor on my hands and knees above them all.
I think about the people who make a successful living cleaning floors.
I think about the people who would love to be able to clean their floor but can’t because of illness.
I think about the people who would love the chance to clean a floor that belongs to them, and not their landlord.
I think about the people who walk on an old, broken, cracked floor because they can’t afford a new one.
I think about the people that live in homes with floors made of dirt.
I think about people who can’t wash their floors because they have limited access to water.
I think about people who have to sleep on the floor because they have no bed.
A silly floor. Something so simple, yet powerful. Who thinks about this stuff? Sorry, but I can’t help it. There is inspiration, pride, gratitude, hope, and humility spilled everywhere on my floor. I can’t step around it.
I wonder who will walk on my pretty floor when my family and I move on. They will never know this floor’s history or what it means to me. Perhaps they will wonder how the dings got there. Maybe someone will make up a story about one of them. Perhaps they will stop, for just a second, to wonder about the people that walked on this floor before them. I hope so.