2.21.2010

Housecleaning, Soul Cleaning, Toilets and Lent


Since I have taken on some morning and night routines for keeping the house clean, my house has been more tolerable. One of the habits I have started has been to clean the toilet every morning. It is just a surface clean and a quick swipe with a brush inside the bowl as well. I even get on the floor to clean that ever dusty and nasty area around the bottom of the toilet.
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When I focus on cleaning something such as the toilet every day, I am less concerned about the really grimy dirty spots. I have found that a daily swipe will eventually remove some of those yucky areas without an extended amount of time or attention. There is one particular rusty spot on my toilet that has gotten smaller and smaller since I've begun this daily wipe down. Some days large chunks of rust come off and other days nothing at all. Meanwhile, the rest of the toilet stays clean because of my constant attention.
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Inevitably, I begin to think about my spiritual life anytime I clean, and have started to compare the dirt and grime on my toilet to sin in my life and this is an especially appropriate topic for this Lenten season:
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If I take time daily to clean my soul, as I do my toilet, to reflect on where I've gone wrong and ask God for forgiveness, my soul stays a little bit cleaner. However, there are some major spots in my life that need to be cleaned, like that rusty spot on my toilet. My daily prayers and examination of conscience may remove some of the rust around the edges, but a much deeper clean may be required. That is what Lent is about. It is a time to focus my attention a little more toward that particular dirty spot in my soul. It's like getting on my knees and scrubbing for a few minutes more a day on that spot on my toilet. I may not get it all in one cleaning, but I will focus a little more time and effort on it while I continue to keep the rest of the toilet, and my soul, as clean as I can. All, of course, with God's help.
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At some point, I may get that spot completely clean (although some of the damage may remain like a scar on my soul), and then God may just point out another spot on the back of the toilet that I hadn't noticed before. Just as housecleaning never ends, neither does cleaning the soul.

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