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clean up


I am now sitting in my new home office filled with 11 brown boxes, 4 bare beige walls, a red clock to let me know I am probably late for something, and a great view of the woods. From my perspective, moving is a good thing and should be embarked upon every few years. It makes you sort through everything you own and re-evaluate whether or not it is still pertinent to your life, plus it forces one to clean all those hidden, underneath, never seen places – ugh!

I hate cleaning. Show me a person who likes cleaning and I will ask them to come to my house and find all the joy they want. Not that I am a filthy person, no no, I do my weekly cleaning and keep things fairly tidy, but it is a chore. Dust is a result of sin, the decaying of our bodies, the reminder that we live with death every day as speck by speck cells that used to carry life fall around us (90% of dust is dead skin). And I just don’t like the fact that hours of my week are spent removing filth and dirt and reminders of death – I would much rather spend my time creating something, building new things, being surrounded by life. Life is change. Death is stasis. And yet, I have never seen anything quite as amazing as the human body when it comes to regenerating itself, healing its wounds, replacing old cells with new, and getting stronger by using it more, even punishing it. So perhaps I am wrong. Dust is not a result of sin, but simply the divine order of change…of the old falling away and the new replacing it. Change is the building block of all healing, and sometimes we resent the change; we have grown accustomed to the old, the routine, the circles of dust that surround objects long unmoved.

When I first unlocked the door to our new home, I was a bit dismayed at its dirty state. I very quickly realized I had a lot of cleaning to do in a short span of time and thanks to good friends, every floor was swept and washed before the movers arrived, and the kitchen and bathrooms were clean as well! It would have been a horrible mistake to move all our stuff in on top of the dirt, and as our little group was in the midst of a whirlwind of mops and rags, I knew somehow that this total cleaning was a good thing – if there had only been a bit of dirt on the floor, or a few spots on the counters, I might have been tempted to overlook it, but now I was forced to deal with everything from top to bottom. I am still not done - I suppose it will take a week or two to make sure every baseboard and closet is wiped clean, but I know this is the better way. And though I dislike the process, Life itself demands it. It will not flourish where death, decay or neglect is allowed to sit in the corner and breed.

Cleaning has now entered my dictionary as a creative activity. Perhaps some day I will even learn to enjoy it.


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