For the last week every morning the same thing happens. My whole head seems like it fills with mucus. But then by lunch time its all cleared up. Some mornings I try taking allergy medicine, or drink strong coffee or tea. Then it occurred to me. I haven’t vacuumed in months. When you look closer at my carpet you can see it covered in dust and hair.
So I pulled everything in my room out. Behind chairs and cupboards. On top of shelves and under beds. I got everything out. I threw away clothes I will never wear again. I chucked books I will never read again or lend to others. I cleared our frigde of out of date foods and dumped the rest into piles. By this stage my eyes were watering from all the dust so I took a break.
Coming back I made the piles smaller by packing some things away and storing them well. I threw out even more paper things. And slowly but surely my room came back to its former self.
As I cleaned I played loud music, dance, funk, hardcore. People began congregating outside my door. Commenting on my progress, taking things I had thrown out and also re enacting my mother by holding things I’d thrown out and commenting “are you sure you don’t want this?” trying to give me back my own trash.
The combination of communal dancing and conversation and getting rid of things I didn’t need dragged the process out but I went even deeper into the cleaning then I would otherwise have done.
I now sit in a much cleaner room exhausted.
Our lives are sometimes like my room. They get dusty, we store things in stupid places, we hoard food that we will never eat, we lose things in the sides of chairs and our beds sometimes just break for no apparent reason.
And its just not the best.
Because in amongst all the rubbish is the dust we are allergic to.
Sometimes in our lives we need to clean house. And sometimes we don’t even know we do. Many are the times I have come home from work and dumped all my stuff on the ground in my haste to eat or shower and forget about how un-neat it looks. Until someone walks past and subtly says “what stinks” “who threw up clothes in here”
We need to neaten up.
We need each other to point out certain things but also to teach and help us through what to do when we get it out of our room. I can get a pair of pants out of my room, but what happens if someone wants to give them back to me? Which could be a whole other discussion.
But in the being a mirror for each other to suss out when we need cleaning – when is too much too much?
There are some people on this planet I wouldn’t listen to as much if they said “your room looks like vomit”. Whereas there’s definitely people who could swear their head off at me and I would still receive love from them.
A woman I highly admire sat in my door way today and said “I love when people point out errors in my ways because then I’m wrong, then I get better. I crave holiness and perfect relationship”
So on one side our communities of space giving and love can function as a communal attempt to get better at life.
The other side is how we present that to others. We can see error in others. But where does the truth in love concept walk in?
Have you ever been corrected by someone who has no relationship with you what so ever and it leaves you feeling dirty and rebellious?
God teach us to be both humble when receiving correction but also patient and relationally committed when handing it out.