Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Cleaning the house is always a challenge for me. Before I left to come to Florida, I attempted to conduct some minimal spring cleaning. You would think that since we haven’t even lived in this house a year, that this would be easy. Not to mention that in the 7 months we have lived here, I have had folks help me get a jumpstart on cleaning. For instance, my sister visited last month and reorganized my linen closet and kitchen pantry. This had not already been done once by my best friend who visited last November. (Hmmm.. wait a minute.. so much for the theory that guests are “like fish” after three days. Mine don’t smell - they scrub!)
The season of Lent is an opportunity to do some spiritual house cleaning. Through intentional disciplines and self-sacrifice, we hope to clear away distractions and open ourselves to God’s grace. This can be just as much of a challenge as housework. How will I find the time? Will I be able to keep it up? Why vacuum cookie crumbs that just reappear in 24 hours?
I was pondering the concept of spiritual spring cleaning, while vacuuming up cookie, cracker and who knows what. I had slipped into that “vacuuming zone” – you know the one? Where the world is blocked out by the hummm of the Hoover? I admit I enjoy the inner quiet that I find in the “vacuuming zone.” For an opposite reason. my older daughter Julianna loves the loud vacuum because it is the perfect time to sing at the top of her lungs.
While in this “zone,” I stopped paying attention to our 15-month old daughter Sophia. She had been toddling around the living room as I was cleaning. When I turned to check her whereabouts, I was shocked to discover her innocently sitting in the “wake” of my cleaning path, shredding up tissue with vigor.
My first reaction was, “AAAH! Futility!” I remembered the Greek myth of Sisyphus. How his punishment was to push a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll down again. Repeating this again and again through eternity. I lamented. Would I ever have a clean house? Would someone always undo my effort? Then, my hardened heart of self-pity was softened as I saw her innocent delight in shredding tissue.
She possessed as much determination and focus in shredding Kleenex as I had in vacuuming. Like mother, like daughter. It seemed she was cleaning in her own way. She was, in her mind, playing house. I turned off the vacuum and grabbed a camera, which upset her because I jolted her out of her own “vacuum zone”.. and the party was over. . The photo is that precise moment.
Lent is a fine time to get absorbed in our relationship with God. But it also can become a time of getting absorbed in the dirt, dust and the clutter of our human nature. That is not the point of taking on a spiritual discipline. Our focus ought to be on spending time with God in a new way. A way that changes us and makes us more like Jesus.The grace of Lent is that we can set aside time to draw closer to God who enjoys us. Maybe God, like Sophia, cares less about the cookie crumbs that we strive to get rid of – but more about being with us for the journey.


Anonymous said...

Is this a matter of priorities or what? What is really important after all? And where does God and his son Jesus fit in? Where does family, wife, husband, children fit into our secular and spiritual life? What value do we place on our varied relationships.

Anonymous said...

What a great picture of what is important to God! Loved this illustration. It is so cool no matter what mess we are making God is there to clean it up for us!
Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Sophia is too Cute!!!!
Mystery Girl (LOL)

Rev Faith Lewis said...

Mystery Girl, how about I send her over to your house for a bit of kleenex shredding?

Anonymous said...

That would be cool too. :)