Cottonwood trees are lovely. Except when they’re not.

We have a huge one in our backyard, a relic from the past that towers over the other trees and lilac bushes like a proud old man in charge. It’s lovely. Really.

Except for his ridiculous white tree dandruff that falls to the ground like snow in July and makes me sneeze.

For most of the summer my back door is wide open. I love the feel and smell of the summer breeze dancing through the house. But that summer breeze also carries tree dandruff, leaving my maple wood floors and area rugs a fuzzy mess. I vacuum every week, mop as often as possible, and continuously pick up things off the floor. But it doesn’t matter. Old Man Cottonwood shakes his head on my floors as long as my back door remains open.

The truth is I could shut the door, keep the house closed against the mess. But I’d miss the breeze and the smell of summer filtering through each room in my house. And so I’ve decided the beauty of summer days is worth the inconvenience of a little extra mess.

Friendships, marriage, children … every relationship comes with a both beauty and mess. You could shut the door of your heart, keep the dandruff of missed expectations, disappointments and frustrations from messing up your neatly ordered life. But then you’d miss out on dancing breezes and sweet smells of connection.

It’s a decision you and I daily need to make. Live an open-door life or a closed-door one? A sterile existence or a fragrant one? The risk and benefits are the same for all of us. It’s up to you to choose.

What do you think is the biggest risk in living an open-door life?

(pic used courtesy of saavem, stock.xchng)