Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I never liked cleaning when I was growing up. I didn't really like cleaning when I was in college, either. It was just a chore, something I had to do in order to get to do other things I wanted. It wasn't until I got married, and had my "own" house to take care of, that I began to appreciate the virtue in good, honest housework.
I recently read an article in Body + Soul magazine (eh, I got a free subscription with some tea I bought online) all about a "fresh look" on spring cleaning. [Unfortunately, I can't seem to link to it, so you will have to bear with my paraphrasing and re-hashing of the article.] "The idea," the author states, "is that we should find meaning in ordinary tasks, because true clarity is fleeting enough--and when it's over, somebody still has to clean the crisper." Ahh, doesn't that ring true with so many things I've learned over the years?
So what's my point? As a housewife, a philosopher's wife :) I know it's important to have a clean and happy home--one that welcomes not only guests and strangers, but also its more permanent residents. [I'm not saying your home has to be spotless--taking care to make a "good, clean home" is different than a catalog-perfect "living" space.] When one comes into a real home, it's apparent in the walls and the floors and the air. A Home is full of Love.
Because, folks, physical things have meaning! It's not enough to tell your children you love them and pray for them (though those are infinitely important), you have to work out your love--in dirty diapers and banana-crusted floors and mud-stained clothes and temper tantrums (hopefully the kids'). It's not enough to get married and be madly in love with your spouse. Work out your unending Love for him in the unending pile of dishes that accumulate, or the unending cycles of laundry.
See, housework and all those blissfully quotidian, repetitive tasks, are a kind of therapy, really. A perfect meditation. Doing the dishes is calming and relaxing for me (mostly--sometimes I'm just tired). It's something I do on my own, so it gives me a window of time where I can think to myself. Folding laundry is the same way. Repetitive, soothing, consistent. I fold everyone of Taylor's t-shirts the same way. I sort the socks and match them up. I re-organize our sweater cubby so they don't fall out. I put the clothes away and admire a clean room, all put together.
We should all revel in a little repetition--it's good for us :)