Cleanliness is (Not Always) Next to Godliness

Some of our best friends came to visit this week. We don't see each other often enough, but when we get together it means a whole lot of memory sharing and laughter will just happen. The best part of our relationship is that we don't agree on everything but that doesn't really matter.

If a contentious subject comes u, it gets noted. Sometimes it might get a comment and then that subject will be dismissed. At times, all it takes is a nod of the head or a smile. I'm beginning to think that is why we get along so well. We've drawn an imaginary line in regard to all things political, which is what works for all of us. After all these years, we know where each others' buttons are and how to push or not push them. Nobody pushes.

Mostly, we know how to laugh about our shared experiences. It turns out that cleaning was one of them. This is one of the few women I've met who comes straight up to say that she hates domestic chores. Cleaning is not her thing and never has been. She doesn't want to do this stuff so she doesn't. She also shares that this has not been the easiest path to take in life. She's gotten put down for her style but has stayed firm.

Her attitude and spirit make me smile. I'm on the other end of this cleaning teeter-totter. I clean things. It is one of my life purposes. I described to her that vacuuming to me is a Zen activity. She laughed... just short of calling me a nutcase. I decided I wouldn't tell her about using toothpicks to clean the dishwasher and microwave. I also decided that conversations about cleaning were not going to go much further than both of us laughing at our differences.

While we understand each other, most people don't understand us. I have plenty of critics who say I am obsessed with cleaning. I'm not. She has folks who think she's not doing enough. She is. There you go... no matter what, both of us are in the same boat, paddling around and giggling at our detractors. We are doing the right thing for our families and our homes. We are living our lives for ourselves.

When I was a child, I remember hearing the phrase, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." At the time, it didn't mean much to me. As an adult, I adopted a child in Zambia. Through this experience, I discovered these words were probably never meant for people who didn't have clean water to drink... let alone to clean with. I formed a lesser opinion of that old adage. Maybe it was just used by the pious to master the art of embroidery. The Godly part seemed serious, but it looks like not enough people paid attention.

I sincerely doubt that God intended for us to buy long-handled toilet cleaning devices. I also doubt he wanted us to pollute the earth with chemicals. In reality, we do these things because we are trying to be better. I've spent my life trying to figure out who we need to be better than and why. It just seems easier to make a smaller circle of life and enjoy the people I live with and those close friends who visit from time to time. These are the things in this world that make life right... that make us happy.

Henceforth, I plan to clean my home any darned time I want and in any way I want. If that requires toothpicks, I will use them without guilt. No one will be allowed to make me feel like Mrs. Clean. I will even take the liberty of NOT cleaning every week... with or without God's approval.

Truth is I'm tired of being Mrs. Clean and am working on changing those standards set long ago by my mom. In fact, she's my most avid supporter right now... she's tired of that Mrs. Clean thing, too, and I don't blame her. We are too much alike in this but also different. I am thankful she taught me so many skills... including cleaning. I'm also glad she's teaching me to let them go when they don't really matter.

In the end, your home belongs to you. If it feels right to your family, it is. I'm pretty sure God does not cast aside people who love the comfort of clutter. I'm also sure it takes more than cleanliness to be Godly. Have a good week, my friends.

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