This week my friend wrote to me saying, “I am going through a thorough scrubbing right now – mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.”
He’s been stressed with work, volunteer responsibilities, and physically exhausted from years without quality sleep. All week I pondered the phrase, ” a thorough scrubbing.”
I read this note again the morning my husband and I jetted off to NYC last weekend. We left early as we had to make a stop by our church to quickly do some volunteer cleaning.
Usually, we make our children come with us as we think it’s an important assignment to clean up your own church, to empty trash, clean windows, and whine about the amount of dirt in the entry way. This is how we make a church OUR church. Due to the NYC child-less trip, they had to stay home and didn’t get to clean the church this time 🙂
It was very quiet as my husband entered the building on an early Saturday morning. We opened the janitor’s closet and I reached for the vacuum, my most favorite chore in life. I use a vacuum called The Pig because it has a long hose attached to a canister that follows behind me like a pet pig. (peculiar people, aren’t we?)
I headed to the chapel, where immediately, the air shifted. It was even more quiet than the quiet halls. The chapel is a sacred place, a room I never allow my children to run through, yell, or pinch…I like it.
The Pig and I started on the stand, stopping to straighten hymn books and place tissue boxes in order.
I moved down to the aisles and vacuumed in-between each pew. It was tight and required The Pig to maneuver expertly.
It’s always eye-opening to see what we leave behind in our chapel.
Tiny bits of white paper
Sacrament and announcement bulletins
Tiny, folded up wrappers
The occasional toy
I thought of my friend’s note again, of his “thorough scrubbing.”
The visible and microscopic messes were sucked up; it doesn’t take much time, and it was extremely satisfying. It wasn’t even all that “thorough,” but it felt good to be clean again.
Then I unplugged The Pig and glanced back at our chapel. It was still perfectly still and quiet, but this time the room was smiling at me, no longer sullied by dirt, grime, and other people’s crumbs. We left soon after, happy a congregation would enter a place of worship that was at least tidy and visibly clean.
We got in our car, took South 93, and headed to NYC. I thought about what a thorough scrubbing is.
If our body is a temple (which it is) and made in the image of God, what are we putting in it? How do we fill our minds? Are we taking care of our greatest creation? Are we diligent about what’s coming into our bodies, mind, and home – whether that’s from television, internet, or sugar cereal? Are we learning, examining, trying?
I vowed to do better, occasionally administering a thorough scrubbing of every part of my life – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
Perhaps a soul without scrubbing is like a church without The Pig.
Metaphorically speaking 🙂