Photo by C.N. Gokul
For those of us who tend toward disorder, we do need to discipline ourselves if we wish to get our acts together. That’s why many of my Messy Monday posts focus on doing the work and finishing the jobs around the house that are waiting for us. Yet, those who are naturally clean and organized sometimes need to learn to loosen up (as a friend of mine pointed out). I’m good at that! So a little switch in tone today as I encourage the cleanies among us to lighten up a little.
We can all think of people who are constant cleaners. They just can’t sit still. While the fruit of their work is a beautiful home to enjoy, the enjoyment of it can sometimes turn sour. What fun is it to be a guest in someone’s home when the hostess is not visiting with you, but rather scurrying around cleaning up after all the guests? (Certainly some immediate clean-up is necessary, but I am focusing on the kind that goes to the extreme). This makes me think of the Mary-Martha account in the Bible, when Martha was so busy preparing the meal (and getting flustered that Mary wasn’t helping) and Mary was just sitting, listening to Jesus. Jesus said that Mary had chosen what was better. Relationships need time and attention to grow. Guests wish to feel important enough that the hostess sits to chat with them, instead of getting busy picking up after them.
What memories do we want to leave behind when people think of who we were? Someone recently told me of his deceased mother, “She was always cleaning.” He went on to say that she was so compulsive about it, she could never relax. Ouch. The clean house turned bitter for those inside. On the other end of the spectrum, people remember the pain associated with growing up in a sloppy home (such as never having people over, etc.).
So balance is called for. Clean and work hard at it, but take plenty of time to sit and show undivided attention to your children, other family members or guests. When you’re reading a story, the dirty smudges on the windows can wait. When you're sharing a cup of coffee, guests are in our homes such a short time that the dishes can wait. It's a simple way to show the people in your life that you honor them above housework.
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