Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cleaning is a monster of mine

Sometime when I was a teenager, I was vacuuming one of our home's kitchen rugs with the hose extension. That carpet seemed to become Velcro to any dirt or fuzz that came it's way, so you had to get down on your hands and knees if you really wanted to be efficient. And if anything, I love efficiency. Because I was getting into the cleaning groove, I continued to vacuum the entire linoleum floor with the hose attachment. My paternal grandmother watched me perform this act of cleanliness and she was, I dare say, quite impressed. See, rumors traveled that she had already made up her mind years before that her granddaughters were not the most tidy creatures. To be truthful, I was probably only down on the floor vacuuming because of her visit in the first place.

Well, would you believe that cleaning groove came on me a bit yesterday and I found myself on my hands and knees again. In my own kitchen this time, scrubbing my linoleum with a rag, water and some Fabuloso. You see, I still believe in efficiency. When something is worth doing, especially cleaning, it needs to be done correctly and completely. The problem is, this idealism causes me to shrink back from basic cleaning because my mind turns it into some kind of monstrous task.

On that floor yesterday, I thought back about that story of my grandma and how my effort had pleased her. I thought about how I wanted to clean that floor not just for the necessity, but because it pleases my Father in heaven. In the story of Mary and Martha, I've always felt Martha deserved a little more credit for her determination to get things done. I believe while I'm cleaning the floor, scrubbing the toilet, or folding clothes, I can still commune with God and know that I am pleasing Him both in taking care of what He has given me and in my relationship with Him.