When things aren't working properly, invest some time in unclogging the pipes.

When Things Aren’t Working Properly, Invest Some Time in Unclogging the Pipes

When things aren't working properly, invest some time in unclogging the pipes.

While doing some cleaning over the weekend with my partner, we discovered that our vacuum wasn’t working. I’d run it across the floor, but it wouldn’t pick anything up.

We took a moment to think about why it wasn’t working properly.

First we thought that the bag was torn, but after opening up the vacuum we discovered that a broken bag wasn’t the issue.  We tried running it again a few times afterwards. Nothing changed.

This vacuum had served us well over the years, and since we weren’t able to figure out what was wrong with it, we began to consider getting rid of it and purchasing a new one later.

Just as we were almost settled on that decision, she began to think about how long we’ve had it, and decided to give it another shot.

“Why don’t we flip it over?”

I found some tools, and we flipped that thing over on its head.

After taking it apart and looking under the surface, we discovered that the real issue was that the suction tube that would transport the dirt on the floor to the vacuum’s bag was clogged.

We each took a hanger, and worked from both ends to remove the dust and dirt that had become hardened to the point that nothing was able to get through.

It took longer than expected to finish, and we both got a little dirty in that process, but after taking some time to clear out the pipe, the vacuum was working again just as it should.

When Things Aren’t Working Properly, Invest Some Time in Unclogging the Pipes

After I came down from an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, I couldn’t help but marvel at the gift that came out of going through that process.

I couldn’t help but realize that the vacuum so closely symbolized conflicts in relationships, and conflicts in life in general.

I also began to think about how the process of going about repairing the vacuum can so closely symbolize the conscious decisions we can make to seek reconciliation and balance when things get rough.

SupportSo take a minute and think about it. Sometimes when things are not working out as we feel they should, we might be tempted to give up.

However, if we go beneath the surface, we might realize that we may be missing something. We might realize that something may be serving as a roadblock to our communication, our understanding, our progress.

It may take some time, and we may get a little dirty, but investing some time in”unclogging the pipes” can increase our chances of getting to where we want to go, and lessen our chances of missing out on important opportunities.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW, LLMSW



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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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