Feather duster. Check.

Sponge mop and tile cleaner. Check.

Furniture polish and rags.  Check.

Glass cleaner. Check.

Rubber gloves. Check.

Vacuum, bucket, and toilet brush.  Check, check, check.

No getting around it now.  I had everything I needed.  It was time to roll up my shirt sleeves and clean our house.  I started in the living room.  What should have taken about thirty minutes, took an hour. I got lost in the watercolor paintings on the wall.  I lingered over each one, remembering the artist as well as the circumstances that led us to purchase them.

The lovely landscape by my friend Elisa Gittings, the desert scene by Georgianna Lipe, the exquisite rendering of Rock Creek in the Sierra by Lady Jill Mueller.

I chuckled as I thought about my taste in art before I met my husband Charles.  It certainly has moved to a new level since then. Together we visited art galleries, museums, and local art displays from New York to Los Angeles over the past twenty years, and our home is now a small museum of our own, displaying the many pieces we fell in love with.

Next I vacuumed the furniture and the carpet.  I stopped from time to time and examined each item closely, as if for the first time. I’m grateful for the choices we made–the beautiful colors and textures, and I’m thankful for the money to buy them.  Lord, you brought those funds to us in the nick of time!

As I continued from one room to the next, my eyes filled with tears.  Every item I touched had special meaning.  Books and DVDs and videos brought music and viewing pleasure to our lives.  Our stove and oven and sink and disposal and fridge and water filter assured us of moment-by-moment convenience and sanitation–something two-thirds of the world will never enjoy, including those in the border towns of Mexico, my neighboring country.

I moved from the kitchen to the den and then to my office, touching, dusting, straightening books and family photos, small collectibles, appreciating in a new way the people behind the scenes: the artists, the craftsmen (and women) who wove our carpet, put together our computers, built our furniture, laid the tile, and installed our appliances.

I swished the toilets, thankful to have not one, but two.  I spritzed the windows and enjoyed the view of the San Diego Bay across the street, and the trees in the yard with huge magnolia blossoms. And I stood beneath the simple wooden cross hanging over our front doorway, aware that it was Jesus who made this life possible for me, not by anything I did, but by his sacrifice on the cross.

I stood back and observed what I had accomplished within a few hours.  Our home sparkled.  It smelled fresh.  It felt good to the touch.  And I had exercised my body and spirit.

I gathered my cleaning tools and put them away.

Feather duster. Check.

Sponge mop and tile cleaner. Check.

Furniture polish and rags.  Check.

Glass cleaner. Check.

Rubber gloves. Check.

Vacuum, bucket, and toilet brush.  Check, check, check.

And one more thing. Thank you, God, for the physical strength to do this work.  Now I see house cleaning as a prayer, as well as a task.  It’s good for our home, it’s good for my body, and it’s good for my soul.

 

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In Praise of Housecleaning — 10 Comments

  1. Karen, I can so relate to this. Thanks for the reminder of simple pleasures and the joy provided by our Lord. Another wonderful post!

  2. I love that perspective. Thank you. That is not how I usually tackle cleaning. I appreciate the new outlook. Nice to see you today at lunch.

    • Laura, thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed seeing you yesterday too. I appreciate that you took time to read my blog.

  3. I so relate to this! I love a clean house, but I don’t relish the chore. Thank you for giving me a new perspective–to remember precious friends and loved ones and special times, and to cherish and appreciate what God has blessed me with.

  4. How wonderful for sure! We can’t help to praise God for every blessing, even the most tiny one’s are a precious gift indeed. Thank you so much for sharing your blogs. May God bless you, and yours.

    • Thanks, Cathy. I hope you and Walter have a beautiful and Merry Christmas season, filled with gratitude and grace and excitement over your new book. I can’t wait to see it in print.

  5. I appreciate what you had to say a out cleaning our homes. It is physical labor, but it is anything but a meaningless menial task. It can be, as you described beautifully, an act of gratitude. Jerri

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