I’m on my bed, procrastinating. Again. I have discipline and am self-motivated. I count on myself to do what needs to be done. But tonight I’ve hit a wall. It is 7:00 p.m. and I’m ready to call it a day. But my list of chores isn’t ready for me to. There are crumbs on the kitchen counter, crunched leaves strewn across the floor, the bathroom mirror is spotted and streaked, and our sheets are crumpled in a pile on the bed – ready to be washed.
Household cleaning is the best reminder to me that our world is one of natural disorder. The clothes don’t stay nicely folded, the toilet could be scrubbed daily and still not sparkle, the rugs are clean for two seconds before gathering wayward crumbs and dirt, the windows get smudged, the baseboards collect dust. And even in a studio apartment with only a few hundred square feet to maintain I am constantly battling downward decline.
I will myself to pull myself off of the bed. All purpose cleaner, windex, paper towels and a sponge are gathered. I get down on my knees and began wiping down the floor of the shower. Caps are put back on the shampoo bottles where they belong. The toilet is scoured, the sink polished. I spray glass cleaner on the mirror and watch my reflection become clearer as it is shined. In the kitchen I gather the stray dishes and let hot water and soap cleanse each one. The counters are cleaned, the disarrayed pantry tidied. Slowly all the areas of the house are cleaned. Slowly my home takes order again and I am able to rest for the night.
It is morning now. There are more dishes. The bed is unmade again. Yesterday’s clothes are heaped on the floor. More leaves have been tracked in. There are new coffee drips on the counter, new spots on the bathroom mirror. This work will never be wholly completed.
I’d like to arrive. To be fully mature, finished with all the work of becoming. I’m ready to be done with the flaws and weaknesses that line my character, to move beyond petty struggles and on to beautiful living. I’m ready to be the complete human I was created to be. But I wake every morning with a need for soul maintenance. Another spot here, another stain there, more scratches, more scuffs, more dirt. Just like my home.
I pull out the broom and begin sweeping up all the grime that found its way into our house. The sun works its way higher in the sky and I bend down with the dustpan. The daily need to tidy a cluttered home prompts me of my daily dependence on new mercy to clean my cluttered soul. The routine of reaching the cracks and crevices of my messy home brings me to reach further into my messy heart. The accumulating chaos constantly pushes me onto my knees in prayer that I might know order.
The brightness of the day streams through our window onto my (for now) clean floors. There is new mercy in the day. Continued grace. Unseen strength. I continue toward wholeness.