Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cleaning My House as an Advent Exercise

I hate cleaning.  It feels so pointless, because everything gets dirty again in about twenty minutes anyway.  I sweep the floor, and it needs to be swept again.  I wash the dishes, and we use them again and need to wash them again.  Someone scatters toys on the floor as soon as I've left the room.

But it needs to be done, because otherwise we'd be living in chaos and filth.  So I sweep the floors, unload and reload the dishwasher, wipe off the table and counters, sort and wash and dry and fold the laundry.  Because if I don't, we won't be able to find anything, eat anything, wear anything, do anything.


This year, thanks to the family reunion in Williamsburg over Thanksgiving, my house is making me quote the fish in The Cat in the Hat a lot:  "This mess is so big and so deep and so tall, we cannot clean it up, there is no way at all."  I've barely got any Christmas decorations up yet because first I have to clean the places where they go!  In fact, everything is such a disaster that I have been inspired to weed out a lot of our things, to sort them into boxes for giving to the thrift store or selling at our next yard sale.  I've started packing away toys and books the kids have outgrown too.


What does this have to do with Advent?  Well, Advent is that season in the church year when we Christians anticipate celebrating Christ's birth at Christmas and also look forward to his Second Coming, when the world will end and we'll go to our heavenly home to live with him forever.  It's a good time for personal reflection, for looking at our lives and hearts and seeing what changes need to be made.  What needs cleaning up?  Have we been lax about spending personal time in the Word every day (guilty!) or about praying without ceasing (guilty!).  Have we been impatient (guilty!) or unkind (guilty!) or focused on prep work for Christmas instead of the miracle we'll be celebrating (guilty!)?  We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but as redeemed, loved children of God, we get to do our very best to live our lives to his glory out of gratitude for his mercy and love toward him and our fellow people.

Tir Asleen hasn't been 100% clean since we moved in here three years ago.  I will never be a perfect person.  But I can clean my house as best I can, and I can focus on God's love and mercy, on the reason for the season.  If I clear some of the clutter out of my home and out of my heart, doing both of those will be a lot easier.

I'm linking up today with the Advent Link-Up Party on Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife.  Click here to find lots of other great posts about Advent!

14 comments:

  1. I like this. Very, very much. I'm inspired to go finally put the sweaters in my closet. ;-)

    (Tir Asleen was a very informative Google search.)

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    1. You're welcome!

      (What did you learn? I guess I've never Googled it... did you learn it's the name of a fortress in Willow where everyone was turned to stone by the evil witch queen Bavmorda? That's where we got the name, though not because of the turned-to-stone thing.

      Before we bought this house, we lived in an apartment that looked lovely when we moved in, but turned out to be infested with two kinds of roaches and lots of mice. Our internet connection kept getting destroyed by the mice, there were bugs everywhere, it was the most awful 6 months of my life. We kept saying, "This will all be over when we buy a house and move away." And it reminded me of one of my favorite Madmartigan lines from Willow: "Why did I listen to you, Peck? 'Everything will be all right once we get to Tir Asleen.'" He was mocking Willow because, when they got to Tir Asleen, everything was decidedly NOT all right. But we got to saying that to each other when the internet was out again or we'd found another mouse hole. "Everything will be all right once we get to Tir Asleen." And so when we bought the house, I named it Tir Asleen. And the great thing is, everything HAS been better.)

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    2. Well....I thought it was something Narnian. Then I found a Star Wars Wiki that said it was a kingdom on Andowyne, and now I find it's a Val Kilmer film I've never heard of. Boy howdy. :-) Quite interesting. I can't imagine living somewhere that bad. It's great you got out of there. :)

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    3. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! You have never seen Willow?!?!?!? Oh man. Please find it and watch it. It's hilarious good fun! Clean and marvelous and awesome. Even has sword fights to keep your brothers happy. And Val Kilmer has never looked more gorgeous. Curl up on your swooning couch and enjoy it!

      Also, hey, you said "boy howdy." That's so my catch phrase. It's also the catch phrase of my favorite Big Valley character, Heath. I'm very amused that you just used it!

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    4. Nope, never even heard of it. I think I should rent it, now, though. Maybe tonight since we finished watching both Hobbits....

      Somehow, that makes sense. You loving Westerns and all. :-) I say "Oh, drat" a lot. Comes from listening to the Hank the Cowdog series, I think.

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    5. Willow has a very LOTR vibe to it. Little people and big people, an epic quest, a magic duel -- draws on a lot of the same myth elements.

      AND has Val Kilmer as the greatest swordsman who ever lived.

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  2. I know what you mean. I'm guilty on all the same counts as you. We've been so busy for the last 4 months prepping to sell stuff at craft fairs that some things just fell by the wayside, like vacuuming, and like decorating for Christmas. I just got the decs up in my room tonight, and for me, that's late. It just doesn't feel all that Christmasy, but part of that is probably not spending time in the word or in prayer like I should. Thanks for a good reminder for the season.

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    1. You're welcome. It's an easy trap to fall into, isn't it? I've never felt it so acutely before, but I often do get caught up in the busy-busy-busy thing and lose sight of the important things.

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  3. Nice post. I swear, I could have written the first paragraph. WHY AM I DOING THIS??

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    1. Thanks! And yes, it just feels so pointless, doesn't it? Especially when you yourself didn't make the mess in the first place. Ugh. My goal as a writer is to some day earn enough writing with my books to hire someone to clean my house once a month.

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  4. Great post, Hamlette and I love that application of the Cat in the Hat quote! I think I'll need to pull it out next time I'm at the sink before a daunting stack containing literally every dish in the house.... ;)

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  5. Haha, I can't say I completely relate because I personally love cleaning the house. Cleaning makes me happy. (I know, I'm very weird.) But I CAN totally relate and appreciate what you've said about clearing the clutter away from your home AND your heart, and focusing on what's really important, especially this time of year. Thanks for sharing this! You've really inspired me.

    ~Emma

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    1. I have a sister-in-law who also loves to clean. She would much rather wash a big pile of dishes than cook a meal. I think she and I should move in together, we'd make a perfect team. Too bad she lives in MN and we live in VA.

      Glad it inspired you!

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