Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Days of Gray :: 13 {cleaning service}

Every time I head out for a run, I pass the same woman sweeping the brick sidewalk that climbs up a slow hill. We wave and smile at each other, acquaintances of a sort in this almost daily interchange. As the seasons change, so does her outerwear and for the past few months it is merely by the familiar crinkle of her aged and sparkling eyes peeping out from under a scarf, and the steady presence of the straw broom hanging from her right hand that communicates this is indeed the same woman. She sweeps the same section of this road, day after day, hour after hour, and apparently for over a year now. I am not sure if she is a migrant worker, or if this has always been her home. I wonder what she thinks about all that sweeping.

I sweep too, day after day. And I wash, hour after hour. And  have been doing so, for well over several years now. I am not sure if I am a migrant worker either... or if this will always be my home. I wonder too what I think about all this cleaning.

There is a part of me that sees how it is all undone almost as soon as it is completed, and then it is done and undone again. This can be maddening, or rhythmic. I am certainly not trying to romanticize the tasks. Scrubbing a dirty toilet holds little aesthetic or devotional glamour for me, but it is less wearying than it used to be. There is some sense of value, of goodness (could I even say the overused but undervalued word grace?) in it: the humility of low places, dirty places, remembering that all things need daily cleansing, seeing that the best scrubbing can only be done by an outside agent and usually by hand, and the simple joy of being able to daily undo even the smallest of this world's ugliness.

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts on housekeeping went under a drastic change when I heard a man named Steve Turley give a talk at a conference for classical schools...he shared how God made the world and because of sin it became marred or out of order. But Christ came to set things back to their rightful order, even though there is something of a now and not yet component...He has set it to rights and it will be set to rights if that makes since. As we go about our daily chores, putting our homes into order we are imitating Christ in His great task...and being Christ in this life is our great task.
    The thoughts were fleshed out much better and fuller in Mr. Turley's talk but this is probably enough for a comment on a lovely blog post :-)