Wednesday, December 1, 2010

By Small and Simple Things - The Allegory of the Vacuum

It's amazing how sometimes the smallest, simplest things can make the biggest difference. A new haircut, a good night's sleep, an hour of time alone, a nutritious meal, a date night.

Or how a new baby can completely change the entire dynamic of a family in one instant, whether it's baby number one or baby number ten.

Take my vacuum, for example.

I know, I know, it sounds totally weird and it's a choppy transition, but, hear me out. It's an allegory from a stay at home mom. There really is a point here.

For a long time, our vacuum didn't really work very well. Ok, at all. It turned on, made all the motions, but never actually picked anything up. As a vacuum repair novice, I had no clue what to do. I cleaned all the filters, tried different settings, but nothing made a difference.

It turned out to be a broken belt. A vacuum won't vacuum without the belt. And it's a super easy fix. I thought it would be really stressful, since my only prior experience with vacuum belt replacement was watching my mom get stressed out, with the vacuum in shambles all over the floor.

However, even after everything was fixed and it worked again, it didn't quite pick up everything. It did a much better job than before, definitely, but it wasn't as thorough as I'd hoped.

Finally, I thought, "hm, maybe I need to change the floor setting to high carpet." So I tried it...

Oh. My. Gosh. It made a world of difference! It really CLEANS now! Not that my carpet stays clean for longer than 2 minutes...but still. It works! I'd tried that setting before, but that was when it had a broken belt.

Who knew that such a small, tiny change of setting could make such a huge difference?

And I honestly feel kind of dumb for not trying it sooner.

The same principle applies to me. The things I do or don't do can make the biggest difference in my day.

I recently found that when I read the scriptures at night, the next day goes SO much smoother than when I don't. I'm more patient, more tolerant, more understanding. I'm less likely to get frustrated, stressed out, and grumpy. I can get a lot more done in less time. I'm a much better wife and mother when I do.

I used to be skeptical when I heard people say that they could totally tell a difference between days they read and days they didn't. I didn't think it could possibly make THAT big of a difference. I know better now.

It can literally determine if I have a good day or a bad day.

I've even thought, "ok, tomorrow I have a ton to do, so I'm going to read my scriptures tonight so I'll have a good day and be able to do it all."

You'd think I'd be smart enough to want every day to be a good day, and therefore, read every single day.

Of course I want every day to be a good day. My brain finally kicked in and realized what it takes to make that happen.

And I've been reading. I'm not perfect at it; sometimes I miss a day, or sometimes I kind of gloss over the reading. But I've definitely gotten better at it.

And you know what? It really makes a difference. Such a small, simple thing. It really doesn't take that much effort. But it makes all the difference in the world.

The more often I read, the more effort I need to put into it to see the changes in my life. Reading each day doesn't magically make my day perfect. It takes work from me. Reading scriptures each day is just a part of the work required. And even so, something will always come up to test me. If it's not a teething baby or a 3 year old's attitude, it's something else. There will always be something.

I wouldn't grow if I wasn't tested. The better I become, the more I am tested. I need to constantly re-align myself.

Just like how my belt-less vacuum wasn't very effective until it got the repairs it needed and the settings changed, I am not as effective when I don't align myself where I need to be. Like my vacuum, my filters need constant cleaning to work properly.

Then, and only then, can I get closer to being who I want to be.

But I definitely need a lot of help along the way. Reading the scriptures each day is a huge part of that help.

It's such a simple thing, but it makes such a huge difference. Truly, "by small and simple things are great things come to pass."

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