gets the grease, or so the saying goes, and often it does. Most often, I think, because it's just so darn annoying that we tend to it, whatever it is, just to get it to stop. However, I'm noticing that if it isn't that annoying, I've gotten good at ignoring the squeak long enough for it to become nothing more than background noise, and when that happens, the squeaky wheel goes untended until it becomes a major blowup that I absolutely can't ignore.
My dad died in 1987, and several times before he died, according to my mom, she asked him to give me money for a down payment on a house. He always refused, saying that he could give me the money to buy the house, and he knew I'd make the mortgage payment, but what was I going to do when something happened and the house needed repaired? He said I didn't make enough money to take care of a house and felt I was better off in an apartment, where someone else was responsible if something needed fixing. In 1993, six years after he died, I managed to buy a house on my own.
|Doesn't look that bad, does it?|
I was angry, not at him, but at myself, and disappointed that I hadn't tended to the squeaky wheels over the years and now my inattention was coming back to bite me. And over the past few weeks, as I've begun fixing some of what needs fixing in the house, I've been taking stock of other areas of my life and recognizing a pattern of inattention to those issues that aren't making enough noise to get my immediate attention, but will, and in some cases already have, cause me greater difficulty if I continue to let them go untended.
I let leaky faucets go for years, knowing that plumbers don't come cheap and convincing myself I didn't have the money to get them fixed. And yet, when the hot water tank needed to be replaced, I somehow found the money to do so because not getting it fixed meant cold showers and that was something I couldn't tolerate. Now that the faucets are fixed, I'm curious to see the difference it makes in my water/sewage bills. I have a feeling that I've paid for that plumber several times over in the accumulated cost of those bills each month.
My sweet tooth, and healthier eating habits, is something else I haven't addressed in any consistent manner either, and although I know that each extra pound I carry makes it harder and harder for my joints to do their best work for the longest time possible, I have a great deal of difficulty routinely saying no when there's a sweet treat calling my name. I'll say 'just this once, or I'll do better tomorrow, or so and so made this especially for me, I can't say no.' Always some 'logical' reason I can't maintain my good intentions.
Let's not even talk about regular exercise! I regularly exercise regularly for about 2 weeks at a time every time my guilty conscience gets the best of me, or my body starts screaming in pain in one area or another and seems to demand that I do something, and then something happens that lets me make an excuse for myself, and my good intentions go down the drain. Now with a hip and knee replaced, and some additional issues with my back, not to mention the upcoming surgery on my feet.... well, so many good reasons not to exercise!
Even my spiritual practice takes a hit from time to time. As repairmen were coming to the house these past couple of weeks, the only 'appointment time' they would give was a window of time from 8 am till noon. Since I routinely do my spiritual practice early in the day, it was the perfect excuse not to maintain it, because after all, it was only going to be interrupted anyway, right? But I didn't ignore that for long, because I've learned what happens when I do. When the hot water tank bursts or the furnace stops running, or the leaky faucet becomes a running faucet because the leak has gone untended for too long, or the house that I thought was going to sell, doesn't, without that spiritual practice to maintain me, I'm no good at tending to all the other stuff with any kind of equanimity at all.
So yes, I was disappointed that the house didn't sell, and disappointed in myself for being the reason that it didn't, but I know it all happened for a reason. A much needed wake-up call, a reminder that squeaky wheels are generally squeaking for a reason and really do need my attention sooner rather than later. So I'm working harder at paying attention to what needs my attention, discerning rather than ignoring. I'm learning that some things aren't important at all, and others are more important than I might at first think. And I'm also remembering, and smiling as I do, that if I had taken care of all the things that needed tended to in my house over the years, I'd be living in a new house in Nashville right now, the wrong house, according to that message from God in which He said that that house would keep me small. So obviously, this was the perfect time for me to get the message that I needed to learn the importance of squeaky wheels!