Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring and Cleaning—den Boer

Every spring the robins build their nests, the daffodils pop up, the tulips bloom and women everywhere clean their houses from top to bottom—or at least that’s what Marty believes. He wonders why spring doesn’t happen at our house.

Oh, the grass turns green, and soon he’s mowing the lawn every week; the daffodils bloom, and I canvas for the Cancer Society; but spring and cleaning are two words I have a hard time putting together.

Some years I tell myself—and Marty—that I’m waiting to begin on a perfect spring morning. Then I will be able to fling all the windows open and hang out the bedding —an essential part of Marty’s idea about spring cleaning.

Yet the longer I wait for a fine spring day the more unlikely I’ll want to spend it indoors cleaning when I could be outdoors enjoying.

Some years I’m too pregnant to clean; some years I have a backache, and some years we simply move. This year we’re not moving, I’m not pregnant, I don’t have a backache and my house is noticeably gritty. I hate it when that happens.

Marty mentions the grime as much as he dares; I’m very touchy on the subject. But knowing my house is dirty is slightly more painful than cleaning it, so this year I am actually spring cleaning.

For inspiration I’ve been asking friends and acquaintances about their traditions and habits. A few admitted that they enjoy this chore. One lady said cleaning is one of her favourite things to do. One friend is so efficient she does her spring cleaning in February and fall-cleaning in June.

But most people I talked to either dislike spring cleaning or hate it. Some do it anyway. Some don’t. Some scrub walls, floors and everything in sight. Others would rather paint over the dirt. Some make it a family weekend project because both partners work outside the home full-time.

Some people can do their entire house in a week. I haven’t been inspired to that point, but I have decided to dedicate a weekly morning to the chore. This is my fifth week and I’ve done the kitchen (but not inside the cupboards), the washrooms, the hallways, and one bedroom. I may be through by Christmas.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:25–26)

My heart could use a good scrub. There are cobwebs in the prayer room and the Bible study area. The worship room is filled with all sorts of distracting trivia, while the other rooms are strewn with selfishness, pride and discontent. I prayed for help. So now in addition to my morning per week spring cleaning, I’m planning to spend an hour a day in private devotions with the Lord.

It’s a plan. I tend to wonder which will get cleaned up first—my heart or my house. I have a suspicion both are ongoing projects.

Excerpt from the book Blooming, This Pilgrim's Progress.  by Marian den Boer. 


Peter Black said...

Marian, what a delightful face crackin' excerpt from your book!
Oh, but you do make your application point well. Serious business, this spiritual house-cleaning stuff, eh?

Marian said...

Serious but worth the effort.

Diana said...

I agree, who wants to stay inside and clean when we can be outside playing in the dirt, ie gardening!. I get outside as soon as I can, as soon as I can work a few inches of soil I'm planting pansies, later it's alyssum and snapdragons. All these tolerate cold and some snow. (Heck, pansies bloom in the snow.) Or I bundle in a heavy jacket and sit enjoying the outdoors, robins singing, etc. So, I'm with you. Fie on spring cleaning. I'd rather save it for a thick humid day in summer when it's too hot to garden. Then I'll stay indoors in the A/C and clean. (smile)

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks for this reminder, Marian. I need to do both the internal and the external cleaning, and like you, I expect this is a long term project.

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