Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Opening my eyes

I'm generally a neat freak who tries to keep clutter to a bare minimum. I can't think straight with too many stacks of papers needing attention or laundry lying around waiting to be dealt with. It seems there is some cosmic connection between a cluttered space and a cluttered mind, in my case. However, please note that I said neat, which is not to be confused with clean. I can ignore a little dirt and dust longer than I can the clutter. Maybe that's because clearing the clutter somehow automatically makes things feel cleaner...I don't know. So this past weekend was a bit of an anomaly for me in that I noticed for the first time in weeks that our shower was in need of attention. Our shower doesn't get cluttered, and since we remodeled our bathrooms a few years ago, it is less of a dark cave and more of a glassy, breathable space; so it seems to stay sparkly for days on end until I notice, with dismay, that it has suddenly, it seems, turned into a mildew farm. There is an obvious reason for this. While showering, my mind is usually occupied with planning the day ahead, reviewing Zumba choreography, mentally singing through my praise music for that week's worship service (okay, sometimes it's not just mental singing), thinking through my grocery list, or some such thing which occupies my mind enough that I am oblivious to the state of my surrounding until it is growing fuzzy stuff at an alarming rate. So I set out to remedy this situation this Saturday, armed with bleach water and lime stain remover. I discovered more than I bargained for as I moved the shampoo, conditioner, razor, and shower gels out of the built-in tile shelf. I started to feel light-headed and wasn't sure if it was from the fumes I was creating with the cleaners or from trying to hold my breath as I held a hand towel over my face, but regardless, I was feeling bad enough to call my husband who was having lunch with some golf buddies after their morning game. I warned him that he might find me in the back yard passed out on the patio furniture if things didn't improve quickly! Thankfully, I was still conscious when he got home a few minutes later, and was able to complete my mission and admire the results not too long after that. Sometime during this episode, I was struck with the thought that neglecting the shower too long was similar to what spiritual neglect can do to a believer. (Most people probably think about this while weeding their gardens, a much less disgusting analogy, but I ignore those even more than I ignore my shower, so we won't go there.) While I was multitasking in the shower all this time, getting physically clean and mentally conquering many a mountainous to-do list, the mildew was creeping in, making a stealth attack. By the time I actually gave a conscious thought or look to what was happening, it had taken over and was making great strides behind my back, so to speak ;-). Only until I moved things around and really inspected my surroundings did I find the worst infiltration. I became overwhelmed with the chore, in more ways than one. When we live our lives on autopilot, running from one task to the next, we lose sight of the little things taking root in our character while we aren't looking. As much as I desire to live a conscious, examined life, and as much as I've tried to teach this to my own children and to other people's children as a youth worker in my church, I can still become so distracted by life that I neglect to allow myself the time to look inward, to listen to the Spirit within me, to apply the cleansing Word of God, to watch for spiritual mildew setting in. I think I will never look at my shower-scouring job the same again and I am thankful for the object lesson whispered to my soul that day.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting -- Psalm 139:23-24.

1 comment:

  1. Super post... full of gems that I needed to be reminded of.

    Now, I'm off to clean my shower!



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