Showing Love, Cleaning the Kitchen (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

As I re-read this blog post, I got a real sense of taking care of home and hearth. Not something that I am particularly skilled at, I am afraid. Sure, I can clean, and I even enjoy it. (To an extent.) However, cleaning is not one of my spiritual gifts. (Sorry about that.) I am so focused on my work right now, outside of our apartment This blog post reminds me that I ought to strive to do these things that are a stretch for me. Regularly. Dear Lord, help me to keep trying, both in and outside of my home.

 kitchen scene -Flickr

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, February 6, 2014

Showing Love, Cleaning the Kitchen

I had an unexpected day off from work yesterday, so I took the opportunity to be a homebody. Just stayed at home, did work on the computer, and caught up on some business (not urgent, but it still needed to get done eventually). I also did some cleaning in the kitchen. Not exactly my favorite thing to do, but it also needs to be done. I cleaned and straightened a number of things, including the counters, microwave oven, table, and especially the stove and sink. (I must be rigorously honest, though. Yes, I still need to wash the floor. It’s in the back of my mind. Nagging. Pestering me. But that’s for another day.)

Some members of my extended family are natural cleaners. Since our family grew up on the northwest side of Chicago, among some Polish immigrants, and since our family has Polish stock in our ancestry, several of my family joke that certain members inherited the Polish cleaning genes. I remember some of the middle-aged and older Polish ladies in the neighborhood, while I was growing up. Their houses would be immaculate. I remember one older lady—I think she was the older aunt or grandmother of the people who owned the house. I’d walk by their garage, a few doors down the alley, and she would be on her hands and knees washing the garage floor. Seriously. No joke cleaning. Well, some of my relatives are almost that thorough.

The verse that I am focusing on in February is 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” What could be more loving than making certain that my kitchen is a clean and pleasant place to cook and to eat food? And, to sit and read at the kitchen table? I must admit, things do tend to pile up around my house. Mail. Papers. Books. (It is not a large space to begin with.) This is one area that I know I need to work on. God, I get the message. I feel the nudge. Or, nudges, depending on the week. Sometimes I have legitimate reasons why I can’t get to the housework. Work is important, and I have worked some overtime recently. (My husband was pleased about that—so was I.) But sometimes . . . sometimes, I only do the minimum required.

That’s like my internal housekeeping, too. Sometimes, I only do the minimum to keep things spiritually tidy, to get thoughts and ideas internally organized, to get my brain oriented towards things that are useful, or helpful, or worthwhile. Not that I waste a lot of time (since we don’t have cable television or any of the computer-assisted television packages), but I am pleased to say I do not watch hours of reality television. And—I do not miss it! But enough with bashing current trendy culture.

God, I do want to follow You. Be of service. Act in ways that are kind and helpful. Please, help me as I work on cleaning more regularly, each day. Wow, what a way for me to be of service!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a meditation journey through Epiphany and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!) (also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons   from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

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Showing Love by Updating the Bathroom

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, February 19, 2014

bathroom - Roy Lichtenstein, Pop art, 1961

bathroom – Roy Lichtenstein, Pop art, 1961

Showing Love by Updating the Bathroom

What would you do if you got a sum of money? What would I do, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

First, I’ll give a little background, so you understand just why I asked that question. I received a small inheritance recently. I thought about it, prayed about it, and gave a portion of it away (to my church, and to two missionaries I’ve known for many years). One of the decisions I made was to update and renovate the bathroom in our condominium. Our building is about sixty-five years old, and the bathroom has not been updated in all that time. Everything still original. Everything still works, but things are a bit scruffy around the edges.

The contractor came over today. He and I talked, and I’m several steps closer to making this prudent decision a reality. The contractor blocked out the time in about five weeks, and I’ll start researching exactly what I want to purchase. Not really expensive, but certainly not super cheap. Pretty much middle of the road, except for the plumbing fixtures (which I very much want to be of excellent manufacture and condition). So, Home Depot? Menard’s? Here I come!

As I reflect on our modest condo, I cannot help but be reminded of how much this story relates to me and my physical self. My spiritual self. My emotional self. I’m in decent shape, too, if a bit scruffed up around the edges. Everything in my life and experience works and fits, for sure. But I am not certain whether I want to tell God, “hands off! That’s quite enough.” At least, I don’t think I want to.

Let’s stretch this analogy a bit further. I can think of God as my general contractor. I am the condo (or, small house). Sometimes, I get up the gumption (or, some might think it the foolishness) to have God redo a room or two. More often than not, God takes the initiative to do some remodeling.  I do not always agree, but God is my General Contractor, after all. I may not want the “kitchen” stripped down to the studs, or the “first floor windows” reframed, or the “sewer pipes” rodded out. Gosh, I may have smaller, gentler, kinder contracting jobs in mind, like washing the “outdoor wraparound porch” or changing the” light bulbs” on various appliances.

The verse that I am focusing on in February is 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” What could be more loving than making certain that the bathroom in our condo is a warm, welcoming, fully-functioning place? This particular room is a basic need, true! But when it’s done, remodeled and up-to-date, I will feel real satisfaction. I wonder whether God feels the same way about me, when a “remodeling job” is finished in my internal dwelling place, too?

I’ll need to consult some more with my General Contractor. God willing, I’ll do just that, when I pray and meditate tomorrow morning.

@chaplaineliza