Don’t Cry Over Spilled Oatmeal

I should have known better than to grab the container of oatmeal by the lid. Moments after it left the shelf the lid popped off and gravity pulled the container to the floor scattering oats in all directions. I will admit that a few angry expletives may have left my mouth.

Luckily, half the contents remained in the cardboard cylinder, so I only had to sweep up about a cup or two of oats. I was able to sweep most of them in the dustpan, but the flakes that fell in the groove of the pantry door track were a bit more stubborn. Unfortunately, I did not have time to haul out the vacuum and fiddle with the hose attachments, so the remaining oats would have to wait until later.

The following day, I got my vacuum out to address the spill. I had never used the hose attachment on this vacuum, but it turned out to be quite easy. With just a press of an orange button, the regular floor vacuum piece popped out and I replaced it with the hose attachment. I held the hose over the oats in the track, clicked the trigger to start the vacuum, and waited for the oats to disappear into the tube. The engine was whirring along but the oats didn’t budge.

When I put my hand over the end of the nozzle, I felt no suction at all. Perhaps I attached the hose to the wrong spot. Another orange button let me snap off the long handle and put the hose attachment closer to the machine like a dust buster. Still no suction. Everything looked and sounded like it was running smoothly, so where was the problem?

Although the collection bin was less than half full, I decided to empty it and check the filters. A small amount of dirt fell into the trash bin, but I soon discovered both filters were blanketed in dust-saturated carpet fuzz. Since my new apartment has mostly vinyl floors, I have been using my Swiffer more than the vacuum. Out of sight. Out of mind. It simply hadn’t occurred to me that it was past time to clean those filters. 

Once I brushed those off, I snapped everything back together and returned to the scene of the crime. In just a few minutes, the remaining oats had been sucked up and out of the pantry door track. Problem solved.

But how long had I been running that vacuum over my bedroom carpet thinking something was happening? I never thought to check for suction. The bin did not look full, so I incorrectly assumed everything was working properly. Had I not dropped the oatmeal, it may have taken me another few months to discover the vacuum wasn’t working!

Obviously, I was not happy about the spill when it happened, but it ended up being for my highest good. What a great reminder that all things work together for good, even when those events are not what I desire.

I know this is a trivial example, and many of you have much more significant challenges than spilled oatmeal. However, if it feels appropriate, I invite you to consider the possibility that this is still true. One of my most daunting health issues yielded more blessings than I could have imagined. It took time and a willingness to see it differently, but eventually, I was able to recognize the tremendous amount of love and positive change it brought into my life. For that, I am truly grateful. 

On the other hand, if you have recently experienced a great loss, it is probably not helpful to think along these lines. Please be gentle with yourself, seek loving support and guidance from those who have walked that path, and allow the full gamut of emotions to pass through you. What I’m writing about here applies to those setbacks and challenges that prevent us from getting or doing what we think we want or need.

Sometimes, what appears to be a roadblock is actually a detour that leads us to a more desirable destination. Although I have experienced this many times in my life, I still needed the reminder!

Are you experiencing a significant challenge right now? It would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help reveal the blessings in disguise while you gain tools and insights to help you move through them. Please look around my website for more information or to book a session. I look forward to working with you.

All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgment.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-4.V:1-2

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