> Family > Heart of Matter

My Carpet Tells a Story

February 8, 2018 | by Chana Gittle Deray

Getting my living room carpet cleaned uncovered a startling truth.

Along with preparing for Passover, we were giving the house that extra shine as we got ready to welcome our guests. You know how it goes ... all of a sudden you see all the dust, dirt and repairs that are needed. After pricing floor refinishing for under the living room carpet, and learning we would need to move out for four days (who would want us?!) we called the carpet cleaners.

The two men showed up and got to work. "How old is this carpet? Are you sure it is only five years old? Boy, it's seen a lot of traffic, huh? What? Nine kids?” as they give you that look. “I've got two and that's plenty! Really, nine kids? Hey, this lady here’s got nine kids!"

Both of them are looking at me now. The look. It's the same look the exterminator gave me years ago as he commented about all the then-young children busily crafting, eating, cutting and dancing all over the kitchen. "Whew!” he said to me. “What time do they all go home?”

He looked bewildered upon learning that they were home and all belonged to me.

The carpet cleaners made numerous trips out to the truck for more chemicals, going over the darkened areas again and again, muttering as they worked: "Can't imagine having nine of them. So I guess you all sit around over here a lot. And that path. They must have a lot of friends. They must play over here on the floor a lot. What happened over there? Sticky. Oh, a menorah tipped. Thought you guys kept them in the window...."

Scrubbing and spraying and rubbing and brushing, and shaking their heads in disbelief. Soon the two of them looked about as worn out as the carpet.

"Well ma’am, that's the best we can do. This carpet has sure seen a lot of wear and tear. You may want to consider refinishing the wood floor underneath. That would last you foreva!" So much for “foreva,” as they followed my glance to the worn out finish on my dining room floor.

The carpet cleaners left in both a chemical and cultural daze. I had to laugh – after all their work, the room really didn't look much different except that all of my furniture was now in the dining room with very clear markings of where it all would need to be put back. What had changed was the way I was looking at it all. They had uncovered some real truth. There it was, carved right into the carpet... proof of all our blessings – our family. There were the fun times, the holidays celebrated, the guests hosted, the little toy cars and trucks driven around, the many dances danced. It was a very fulfilled carpet, thank God!

If we ever do refinish the floor underneath, we will need to bury the pieces of our carpet in that special place where they bury holy items that are no longer used.

Hey... does anyone want house guests for four days?

Excerpted from Kugel, Chaos & Unconditional Love

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