Friday, October 22, 2010

Just Call Me Alice

For the last three days I've been a cleaning machine.
I've dusted ceiling fans and scrubbed baseboards, I've moved furniture and fixed wobbly table legs, I've vacuumed carpets and mopped hardwood floors. I've laundered slipcovers and tried my best to rid my world of dog hairs and dust bunnies.
Somebody better hide Tanner the Slobber Dog or I might vacuum him too.

So why the white tornado of cleanliness?
You've got me.
In about eight hours, sixty some teenagers will descend upon my house for a pasta dinner, to get their bodies pumped up for tomorrow's race, but I'm pretty certain that nobody will notice my grime-free piano keys (seriously, how do piano keys get dirty?) or that for this very moment in time, I'm completely caught up on laundry. (In case you're wondering, that sound you hear is the chorus of angels.)
But I'll hug those kids anyway.
Their visit gave me just the gift I needed: a reason to tidy up a bit. The chance to get carried away.

As I was scrubbing tubs and erasing smudges, my brain took a few days off. I worked out my stress of my son's doctor visits of the last few months, the crumpled, upside down car of last week, the questions of where I'm going, what God may have for me.
I took it out on the dirt and it felt good.

I noticed filth I'd never noticed before. I know I'm no neatnik, but really?
The house was that dirty?
I'd been staring at it every day and never saw it.
The shock made me look a little harder at the other corners of my house. At the corners of my mind.

You can get so used to looking at something you just don't see it anymore.
As I cleaned, a song from my college years kept coming to mind. It was "Create in me a clean heart oh God..." It was John Michael Talbot's version, probably because there I was, monk-like, on the floor, scrubbing.

The song prompted me to look up Psalm 51. I'm just crazy about how The Message words it:

Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don't look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don't throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!

Don't you love that? I do.
Okay, God. I'm standing tall, arms outstretched.
Breathe your breath on me. I'm ready to sail!

Does a clean-fest work wonders for you? What do you do that gets you out of your head, to work out your stress?

Much love to you!


prahlad said...
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Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I love how GOOD I feel after a cleaning spree. Fresh. New. Ready for a beginning. I bet your house is GLEAMING. And I hope you didn't vacuum Tanner;)

lotusgirl said...

I love a cleaning spree for making me feel like I've really done something great, but if I need to de-stress, I go on a picture taking spree. Even the sound of the shutter clicking can lower my blood pressure.

Cathy said...

Nice! Love it! :-) I've had a girlfriend over, helping me de-clutter for the first time since the babies were born. It feels SOOO good.

Laura said...

I would have been sorely tempted to wait until after the teens left to clean... :0)

No, sometimes a visit from someone is a needed push - at least for me.

Yeah, my brain works like yours, Becky. And I loved John Michael Talbot!

Alex Marestaing said...

Great post, we don't always notice the stuff that's been there for a while. By the way, next time clean the house the day after the sixty people come over (just kidding:)

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey y'all. Thanks for the comments.
Laura and Alex, it's kind of amazing. The house was still really clean AFTER they left! I should really have someone over today, before it gets messy again! The kids did a great job cleaning up after themselves.

Graceful said...

I am beginning to love The Message more and more -- thank you for sharing that verse. And congratulations on a dust and grime-free house -- that's an accomplishment!

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

I have ALWAYS found cleaning very therapeutic and worshipful. Sometimes, it's the only thing that will snap me out of a funk.

Good luck with all the teenagers! You're a brave woman!

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Displaced spring cleaning??

If I'm truly honest, I really don't mind cleaning baseboards; and ironing always clears my head.

Heidi Mann said...

Dear Becky,
I haven't checked in here for a little while. Sounds like you've had a rough few weeks (or more). So sorry to hear of all your stress. May God grant you peace and new calm for your life.

Amy Sullivan said...

There is nothing like cleaning all of those places that no one will really ever notice but you. To destress I love to read (just to check out!), go outside, or hang with friends.

So I know I haven't been bouncing around the blogging world very much lately, so this may have been up forever, but I love your writing tab. I've always wondered about some of the places you write...and now I know!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thanks, y'all, for your comments and wishes and thoughts.
Heidi, it's a bit of a rough patch, but as rough patches go, it's not so bad. Everybody is safe and I know I'm not alone. I know God has something good for me in store. I'm just feeling impatient to find it!

It was a real joy to have all the laughter, silliness and fun of so many teens in my house. I really loved every second of it.