I would so like to run this thought past him to see what he thinks. But he’s not here. And you are.
It struck me as I was doing some end-of-year cleaning that my house was more-than-usually filthy. And cluttered. Shoes showed up from under the couch that have been MIA for months. They showed up, yes. But not in pairs.
Then off to the kitchen, I became fully conscious to the fact that I have devoted a corner of the kitchen for the function of yard implement staging: a blower, a couple of hand hoes, two pairs of loppers still in their packaging (Hoarders, stay away from my house. You can’t handle
the Mo), one-third of a box of wild bird seed (it’s been sitting there since last Winter, I’m pretty sure), and – not really in the yard-implement category but close enough to find itself in that corner filing system – a set of trekking poles that I bought to help me with my bad back. Not so much because they would really help that, but just that they might get me walking more.
I could go on, but I’ll extract us both from the litany of my chore discoveries and get to the point.
Some people can keep a clean house day in, day out, without being reminded, requested, cajoled. They just do it. Sometimes they even like it. They recognize that keeping a clean and tidy home has intrinsic benefits. Others may not take up the mantle of cleaning the home quite so frequently as that, but generally give it an adequate going-over every couple of weeks. Again, without reminder, etc.,.
Then there are people like me. Who always, or pretty near always, let something – laundry, dishes, vacuuming, going through mail, all of the above – get too far gone for the fix to be anything less than a major undertaking.
Unless company is coming. Then I turn into the human dirt devil and retrieve from the broom closet the otherwise stored “rags”, brooms, sweepers, furniture wax and even sand paper and linseed oil and put them to the use for which they were intended.
And it occurred to me during my cleaning spree, that religion is kinda like that house guest. The guest stands as a wall, a certain-to-occur event, that motivates the right-thinking and -doing of house work. The possibility of a house guest just isn’t enough. To unleash the white tornado, there must be the I’ll be there at 7:00 certainty.
So, while for some, cleaning house is an activity that will be done whether or not one is expecting neighbors to drop in for a little holiday cheer, for others, an external nudge is a necessary part of the house-cleaning system. Those who clean house without the threat of in-house entertainment are like those who find ethics and morality to be organically generated and not derived from or dependent upon the truth of religion.
And the ones who need to have that house guest on the way in order to clean house? Well. They’re like the other ones. It does occur to me that I always say, “Please forgive the mess” when someone drops by. Hm.
Cleanliness is next to godliness has a whole new meaning for me.