I started my spring cleaning today.
That’s right. You heard me. The leaves are starting to turn, the combines are out in full force, Starbucks is announcing pumpkin spice everything, and I am starting my spring cleaning.
I could easily make the argument that this is exactly when spring cleaning should take place. I mean, I get the whole idea behind freshening up your home after a long, long, loooooong winter of being trapped indoors. There is something about spring that makes you want to beat out your rugs on the washing line, and get rid of all that cooped up winter dirt. Nonetheless…it has always felt a little silly to me to clean out your whole house right at the time of the year when you will be spending the majority of your time outside…and traipsing all that outside, inside, multiple times a day. Especially when you have small children who can’t yet, or won’t yet, take off their dang shoes when they come inside.
But if I’m being totally honest, this logical argument is not the real reason I’m checking the tick boxes off my spring cleaning list (which I found biodegrading on top of the fridge) on this, the second last day of August. The true reason is that I just haven’t had time. May was the busy month of fundraising for our Cambodia missions trip, and June was the busy month of being on, and returning from, the Cambodia mission trip, and then July and August were the busy months of working full time, and boom. It’s fall.
I’ve had the entire last week off of work, which has been glorious. And now that I’ve started to recoup and feel a little like my normal self again (two months of full time nights make you feel like a crazy person wrapped in a cocoon of grumpiness), I’ve begun to notice all the little things I’ve let go all summer long. For example, the orange juice Little Babe spilled in the fridge a few months ago when I gave in to his stubborn insistence that he could put his unfinished cup on the shelf all by his ‘helf’. (Sure, I wiped the most of it clean with a cloth, but it was all down in the cracks of the drawer, and caked into the seams of the shelves, and don’t get me started on the puddle of congealed OJ I found when I pulled out the veggie drawer). Or the fish crackers and raisins that occasionally pop up from the couch cushions when you sit down a little too hard; disgusting fuzz covered reminders of my inadequate housekeeping skills.
(Side note: I found a crocheting needle under my couch cushions a few days ago, after one of the afore-mentioned fuzz covered treats nearly hit me in the eye and I decided it was high time to get the vacuum out. I only know of two people that have been in my house that could possibly own such a contraption, and both of those people have denied ownership. This is highly suspicious. Could it be the Hubs has taken up crocheting on his lonely nights without me, and is too embarrassed to fess up? I’ll keep you posted with more on this story as it develops).
And then there is my garden. Oh my heart. Oh my poor, sad , pathetic, little garden. I had such high hopes. I planted early, indoors, and nurtured little seedlings on my kitchen counters for weeks. I hauled them all outside as it got nicer out, to get them used to the air, and then brought them all back in at night to keep them warm and safe from frost. We staked out rows, planned what should go where, and dug trenches to place both plants and seeds. We lovingly covered them up again with soil, not too deep for these, a little more for those.
To be fair, there were a few setbacks out of my control. The two weeks we were away were in the 30’s, and there wasn’t much rain. Then some sheep escaped a pen, and enjoyed a hearty snack at the garden’s expense. Also, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that we finally set up a double hose from the house system, to save us from having to literally fill up buckets by hand and water the garden one painful pailful at a time. Ain’t no one got time for that, am I right?
But really and truly, the main reason that our garden didn’t flourish as it should, the reason for sticky shelves in the fridge, and projectile snacks from the couch, is that I just didn’t make the time. You know what else I didn’t make time for? Me.
My heart is dry. It’s fruit is withered and slow growing. My soul feels dusty and clogged. I haven’t taken time to rest, to be, to remind myself of who I am, and Whose I am. Today I read these words:
“Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Oh yes. That’s me. But you know what? A little consistent watering goes a long way towards making a garden flourish. Today my lettuce stands a little straighter, looks a little greener. Tomatoes are ripening, and the corn is starting to round out. The fridge is gleaming, and I’m no longer being assaulted by smiling fish when I sit down.
“I have seen you in the sanctuary, I have beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. ”
Spring cleaning is under way, not just in my home, but also in my heart.