Efforts in futility

I first want to begin by saying, I am not an animal hoarder. I say this because my honey and I each had two dogs and then we moved in together, which brings us to four dogs. Granted, two of them are Chihuahuas, there are still four of them. A few months ago I then had the bright idea that I missed having a cat, since my former cat was struck down by a car one night in front of my old house. It took me several years to come to terms with that and move on to wanting to bring a feline friend into our home.

This brings me to my topic this fine Phoenix morning. Futility. As I’m 100% sure parents of small children and others with packs of animals can attest, there are daily reminders in our lives that our efforts sometimes, are futile. Point in case: as one can imagine with four dogs of various ages and sizes… ranging from 10 years old and 65 pounds to 4 years old and a whopping 7 pounds… there’s politics. Especially when they’re all boys, save for the big, old Mama dog, all of our pets are boys. All but one of them are neutered (and that will be remedied in the near future), yet there’s still this godawful instinct to show dominance in the form of urine. I cannot explain this behavior, I’ve tried. We have literally tried everything short of outdoor quarantine, diapers or making a frantic phone call to that blasted Caesar Milan.

Parents that I know agree that cleaning up after young children is similar to cleaning up after dogs. JUST as you manage to pick up the last Lego, your little bundle of energy manages to have dragged out their Play-Doh or watercolors and has already made a mess. That’s kind of how I feel as I’m mopping in true OCD fashion at 5:30 in the morning. I’m sorry, but there’s something absolutely wretched about stepping in any liquid with socks on, let alone pee. Just saying. Add in a 6 month old kitten to this manic cleaning, and it’s a recipe for disaster. It takes an incredible amount of willpower to not smack the cat with a wet mop every time he crosses over the spot that I JUST CLEANED in an attempt to attack said mop, especially when my honey is blissfully in dream land in the next room. We live in a small house and noise travels pretty readily.

So as I’m furiously mopping the floor (shout out to Nature’s Miracle, Clorox, and my new string mop), there are dogs strewn about the floor and furniture and I’m just going around them in a feverish attempt to “just get the big areas” so that I can focus on getting ready for work, and here comes the cat. He’s stalking the mop, behind the leg of the coffee table… then pounces! Behind the leg of the bar…. then pounces! Behind the stove… then pounces! All the while tracking dirt through my freshly cleaned (though panickedly so) floors. This my friends, is futility.

A good friend of mine, rest his soul, years ago was talking about when he first came to Buddhism. It was after he was hired as a security official to protect a monastery in the western outskirts of Phoenix where there was a horribly tragic rampage where several monks lost their lives. He was raised Baptist and was Agnostic at best at this time in his life, but found something in this temple that brought him to the Dharma. He began attending this particular temple after his duties as security were over. One day he was raking the rock garden there and every time he raked the whole garden, there were still more leaves where he’d just raked. He went to the leaves and raked them up. Then there were still more leaves. He raked those. And more. Rake. And yet more. Rake. One of the monks came by as he was feverishly raking for at least the fifth time and in a fit of frustration he asked the monk what to do about the leaves. The monk replied, “The tree has leaves. They will fall. This is karma.” My friend: “What do leaves have to do with my karma?” Monk: “Maybe it’s not just your karma.” My friend took a moment to contemplate that statement and then put the rake away.

Futility. There will always be leaves. Do your best and move on. Breathe.

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~ by wendemachete on January 10, 2012.

One Response to “Efforts in futility”

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