Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Therapy of House work

     Funny...the things we take for granted. When my kids were young and we were a busy active family, I spent so much time making sure that my Home was as spotless as possible. I loved decorating, rearranging the furniture, painting, finding new creative uses for various antique-ish items, and spending hours in the yard. I took great pleasure in making my Home a very welcoming place for my family and friends. The compliments I'd receive were all the motivation I needed.
   I kept the house based on the rule..."there's a place for everything, and everything IN its place". Looking back now, I regret being quite so strict about such things. More time I could have spent with my girls...

One of THE hardest adjustments for me, now that I'm so physically limited, has surely been my lack of control over the state of the house. In the past month or so I've noticed an increase in my shortness of breath as a result of any physical activities at all, so this only increases the challenge. I feel so "out of control" of many aspects of my life now, but not being able to keep a spotless home is one of the hardest to "swallow".
   No more scrubbing floors on my hands & knees, my favorite way to mop! No more washing the baseboards, mopping out all the closets, scrubbing each tile in the bathroom. I'm reduced to dust mopping things, wet mopping occasionally, dusting furniture, and trying to keep up with the dishes and counters. Thank God, I have a wonderful husband who is always willing to help me with such things, but for me there's nothing like doing it MY WAY! I'm ashamed to admit this, but at one time I IRONED every piece of laundry! UNDERWEAR!! Everything!

   Today, I spent a lot of time cleaning. I am trying to accept a new cleaning routine, and be satisfied with less than spotless. It felt so good, going through my wardrobe, sorting out some things to donate and a few things to sell on eBay. It was satisfying to wash my window sills and windows, and to attack the army of "dust bunnies"under the furniture. For me, trying to keep my house clean is what makes it feel like MY HOME.
   More importantly, I am finally learning something that the Lord has always wanted me to know. RELAX. Its okay if everything is NOT in its place.

  The lesson here for me is that our lives are not really measured by how clean our home is, or if there are any wrinkles in our undies. Although I took great joy in my warm, welcoming home years ago, that was NOT my identity. For months now I have felt less of a person, just because I couldn't do the amount of housework I used to do. But that is errant thinking.

I was reading Ecclesiastes recently, and I feel that verse 11 in chapter 2 can apply here:
   "Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing  to be gained under the sun."
  I don't know that my children or my husband really remember or care now, about how clean our Home was years ago. I DO hope that they will remember how much I love them, how much it pleases me to make them happy or to cook something special for them. I hope that my friends and family will remember that they are always welcome in my home... even if it's NOT spotless. I hope they'll remember how much I love to laugh and hug and spend time with them. I hope I'll be remembered for how much I care, how much I love, and how much I believe. I want to be remembered for sharing my experiences and trying to encourage others, rather than suffering through and just letting it go.

Don't get me wrong. I'll always find a certain satisfaction in the act of cleaning house. A clean house is much more enjoyable. THere's nothing like putting on some great music and cleaning from room to room.
    You will always be welcome in my home. I will probably offer you a cup of tea or coffee, or some homemade sweet tea. I love to entertain family and friends! But just look past the dishes in the sink, a messy tabletop, or a new platoon of "dust bunnies". And I will do my best to be okay with it too.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.


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