I could not wait to be done with my everyday duties to run home to clean. That’s right, I really couldn’t wait to get home to clean. I don’t usually get that excited about cleaning, but this particular day was different. Some call it domestic bliss, but I’d like to think that it was bigger than that. Growing up, I would always hear my grandmother say “cleanliness is next to godliness”, and my interpretation of that, simply put, was that God would not be pleased if I, or my surroundings, weren’t kept clean.
I seemed to have missed the greater significance of my grandmother’s lesson. Havoc seemed to have taken ahold of my house. There was no denying I would have my work cut out for me upon my return. Sure enough, waiting to greet me was a laundry basket full of dirty clothes, a freshly laundered pile on a dining chair, toys on the floor, and filthy dishes on the countertops. The place was one hot mess! Everything sat right where I left them.
Let me be clear; leaving my home in such disarray is not my usual practice, and this organized chaos was no case of negligence. I decided a while back that if I cleaned every single time a space needed cleaning, it would be all that I would do. For some reason, today was different. I was invoked to clean by a more profound, spiritual contemplation. The song “Get Your House in Order” by Dottie Peoples, came to mind, though my impetus to clean was not about religion nor the imminent return of Jesus coming from her plea. Yet, its first two lines: “Get your house in order, do it today…Get your house in order, do it right away” were haunting and petitioned me to attend to the mess that lie before me with unparalleled urgency.
I think that this urgency had more to do with my conscientious effort to adhere to some life goals that included getting my house in order. By “my house”, I’m referring to not just that physical space, but that mental and creative space on which all else is based; that space that allows me to be my best and most authentic self. I’ve been trying in earnest to make sure that more of my energy and attention is focused on those life goals, and aligned with what I say is truly important. Additionally, I’ve had some quiet confirmations on purpose, and an increasingly unapologetic stance about what I believe is the need to have things in order, and not have life haphazardly manage me.
Some of that inspiration came from a Twitter feed, by founder of Urban Cusp, and columnist for Washington Post, Rahiel Tesfamariam. Being that I don’t Tweet often or regularly, it is no coincidence that I encountered this profound deposit. In it, Rahiel emphasized the importance of being prepared, or getting ready, so that when discernment comes and the right people and situations are actually placed in your life, that you’re ready to take action.
So, as I wipe down counters and sweep the corners, I am more mindful that even these mundane tasks have a much more esoteric meaning. As I stand at the kitchen sink, my hands fully immersed in hot, soapy water, scraping hardened cake batter from my youngest daughter’s “kitchen experiment”, I am mindful that this act of cleaning is not so much about cleaning, as it is about “cleansing“. In that space, I am overcome with an uncanny awareness that I am safe, fed, loved, healthy, and steadily moving to be more aligned with what I call Spirit…God.
This quiet “scrubbing” time was what I needed to reflect on stripping away what is no longer needed. This “cleansing” time just felt right! It was part and parcel of the bigger goal of paring down those meaningless assignments and activities that take up far too much of my precious time (Basketball Wives, anyone?).
What I now know is that getting my house in order allows for Life-generating pursuits. Eliminating clutter provides room for internal clarity, which makes discernment less arduous, and lends to a deeper introspection about what needs to be done. It also helps to let go of old “things” that are no longer welcome. Old things only make it more difficult for us to receive new insights about blessings that await.
So, the next time I hear Dottie Peoples crying out for me to get my house in order, I’ll look around and see. Will I have reverted to the disorder that characterized my physical space or will I hold on to this new orderliness? This is the challenge. So…let’s hope I don’t hear that song any time soon!
Some Musical Inspiration:
“Get Your House in Order”, Dottie Peoples