sinkhole

Water running down the drain, deep sinkhole

Around the time Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, there was a massive AC leak in my apartment. I didn’t notice it at first. I was sheltering at my aunt’s house when I wasn’t working 12 hour shifts. When I visited my apartment after the storm had passed, the power was out. I saw some water on the floor.I thought this was due to the power outage. I cleaned up the water, threw out the contents of my refrigerator, and went back to work.

I didn’t return to my apartment to stay until a week after the storm when power was restored. I was up early cleaning my apartment when my bare toes landed in something wet. The water I thought I’d cleaned up was back. I called the maintenance over to figure out what was happening. He said he bet he knew what it was because it had happened in another unit before.

“Yeah, it’s just what I thought. Your AC line is clogged. Water isn’t going out of the unit like it’s supposed to, and it’s leaking into your carpet here.”

He brought in a shop vac and began working. What he discovered was the water damage was much more extensive than he originally thought. There was damage to the carpet, padding, subfloor, wall, baseboards, and doorframe. Items in my apartment were lost to water and/or mold damage.

I discovered something (other than mold) through this experience.

I had mad a dangerous assumption about my AC unit. Since the AC was doing what it was “supposed” to do, I paid no attention to how it was performing. I treated the issue without addressing the source.

This happens frequently in my life. If I’m doing what I’m “supposed” to do, I don’t always notice when something’s amiss internally. It escapes my attention that I’m not releasing things appropriately. I’m crossing items off my to do list and moving forward on goals, but my emotional backup is saturating  everything around me. Waste water is leaking into my environment and creating the perfect space for some really nasty things to grow. This dysfunction and the resulting mess affects my life and the lives of everyone around me, just like my AC unit damaged everything close to it.

This may seem like a stretch, but stay with me. I’ve been focused on loving where I live lately. If I’m going to love where I live, I need to do more than function. I need to live in a way that isn’t negatively impacting those around me. I can’t cause catastrophe in the lives of others because I’m malfunctioning and expect a pass because I’m still doing the bare minimum of what I’m supposed to do.

Have you experienced this? Maybe you were served by someone who did their job but lacked customer service. Perhaps you or someone you love makes meals AND messes they expect someone else to clean because they cooked. Or perhaps you’ve been impacted by a parent who thinks as long as they send a court mandated amount of money at the required frequency they’ve done their job. Over and over again, we’ve come into contact with the walking wounded who aren’t aware or don’t care that they’re dripping all over everything. They keep moving ahead without taking the time to look down and see that something is wrong with them.

Whatever is in us comes out. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” One version of this verse says “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” If we are clogged emotionally and/or spiritually, those emotions will still spill out. Improperly released emotions can cause far reaching and extensive damage in our lives and the lives of those closest to us.

Inattention will cost us. This life is about more than doing what we’re supposed to do. In fact, it’s at the times we’re doing what we’re supposed to do when we are most susceptible to doing the things we shouldn’t. It’s when we’re doing well on a diet that we reward ourselves with a cheat day that becomes a cheat life. It’s when we finally feel content single that we meet a person who isn’t for anything but our ego. It’s when we’ve paid our bills that we decide to spend money we don’t have to treat ourselves, continuing the debt cycle.

Do you see the dysfunction inherent in these things? The problem is we think we are doing well so we reward ourselves with things that are detrimental to succeeding at what we say we want to do. My exhortation to you today if you, too, want to love where you are in life, is to stop measuring your success by if you did the thing you were supposed to do and to start looking at the bigger picture of how you function in and influence your environment. Are you emotionally clogged? Dealing with the affects of someone you love whose emotions are being improperly released?

My thoughts have thoughts on this, and I could say a million other things here, but for today, it’s enough to dial back in, to pay attention. It’s time to stop ignoring the check engine light because your car starts up and gets you where you need to go.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comments section below.

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