I don’t know what incites it, but it seems to happen just before the holidays. I go on a rampage. I recognize that it is sometimes irrational but there is something within me that insists I do it. Clean, from the inside out.
This year, I knew the cause. After my mother in law’s death, her apartment had to be cleaned out. Lots of things came to our house for sorting, keeping, donating. And, that began the avalanche of closet, drawer, shelf cleaning, sorting, reorganizing, and donating.
Additionally, we were preparing for holiday guests. My propensity is to deep clean the rooms or areas of the house they would be occupying. We had just played bed dominoes to better accommodate the sleeping preferences of each guest. It had taken weeks to make decisions and act on them. Deep cleaning for me means inside out cleaning: cleaning drawers, shelves, closets and after all that, dusting, vacuuming, etc. Anything less is superficial.
During the growing up years of our children, the boys shared a bedroom and the girls shared another. Each room sported bunk beds. The bunk beds found new homes, replaced by something to better accommodate adults, some married with children. And, the basement classroom from our homeschooling days morphed into a family room with a hide a bed for one of the three ‘family’ units. We decide which rooms/beds to use based on who is coming and when; what overlap and what sleep preferences each has.
And, so it began. My rampage of sorting, cleaning. In the process of cleaning a shelf of toys, I decided I needed to store 2 children’s toys together for our new granddaughter’s benefit. Of course, I was certain I knew where one of them was (in storage). It wasn’t there, so my progress on one shelf was diverted to sorting through the ENTIRE storage room of our basement till I found it (with the games, not in the storage room where it once was). This a huge pile of things my husband needed to evaluate before anything could return to the storage room. Let’s just say we ‘store’ things differently. And, I don’t pitch anything unless he gives the nod. This was the avalanche.
Our basement is the old fashioned, no finish on the ceiling kind of basement. It’s not very deep and tall people notice how low the floor joists are. Between the joists, run air ducts, pipes, electric things. When we were in the basement every day home schooling, I noticed any cob webs that arrived. They didn’t live long. These days, my time in the basement is usually to rotate loads of laundry or find some ingredient in the pantry. Few minutes are spent searching for cobwebs.
After feeling pretty smug about all the organizing and sorting work done in the basement, I decided to take a lantern to shine into the recesses of the floor joists, just to be sure there were no dust particles, hanging out together. Oh. My. Goodness. The light revealed more than I imagined. My heart sank. I had not observed those lingering cob webs. They were as fine as fishing line, invisible to the naked eye till the light illuminated them.
I knew the perfect weapon against those critters: my grandmother’s Fuller brush broom. This is not an ordinary broom. It’s a triangular shaped device on a pole. The bristles extend 360* around each of the three sides and the respective corners. I suspect she used it to clean corners and the joint between ceiling and wall. Though my basement ceiling isn’t very tall, neither am I and the handle was just the extension I needed to conquer the dust above and beyond the air ducts and other utilities.
Maybe because I’m always asking the Lord for revelation of Him in my life, this came to me. Each of us has some cobwebs that are invisible to our own eyes: dirt and dust that clings together, forming lines of imperfection. When His light shines on it, even the smallest of disgusting particles are seen for what they are: dirt, maybe even sin. And, only the work of the Trinity, an extension of His grace cleans it up. The Holy Spirit shows us; the Son cleanses us; the Father instructs us.
If you come to my house, there is no guarantee you would find my basement rafters dust free. The cobwebs I discovered yesterday are gone but new ones will find their way and I must remain diligent to keep them from accumulating. It requires maintenance rather than an annual rampage.
Perhaps the Lord wants to remind me that daily maintenance of the cobwebs in my spiritual life are most effective. Letting my sin mount for a period of time before attacking it creates more difficulty than I want to face. It could become an avalanche.
Especially during the holiday season, we have more to juggle with extra events, time with extended family or loneliness enlarged; financial restraints or lack thereof, there is more need to focus on His ways and to hear His voice so we don’t move in the wrong direction and have a lot of cleanup to do post celebration. Food for thought, at least.
There might be more to say about rampages. For the moment, I have a few more drawers to sort and organize; a little more dusting of some shelves; and some additional sweeping to do before my company comes. Happy Holidays!