Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

I have personally wondered who came up with that statement. I have always thought it was bunk, until now. My family decided to try an experiment, we decided to let the house get to be a total disaster and see if we can get close to God, and still be messy.

Ok, so that last statement was mostly a lie. We let the house get messy because we are on the lazy side. Ok, maybe lazy is too weak a word; perhaps I should say that we are both (a) packrats, and (b) slobs. I can say that because my wife usually doesn’t read my blog. If you are reading it sweetheart, I mean slob in the best possible way J. I would also add that I am a bigger slob than she is, for what it’s worth.

So, our house has been messy for say, ever since we have been married. We have been married nearly seven years, and the house has been clean, truly clean only a handful of times. I’m not talking bacteria infested, filthy dirty or anything, I’m talking boxes piled everywhere, clothes hanging off of everything, toys scattered everywhere. Yes, we would clean the living room and the kid’s rooms superficially. Things looked decent, but there was always an underlying mess.

We moved into a rental a little less than a year ago. The rental was brand new, so the owner came by to do a first year inspection for warranty purposes. Since our house was a deep-seated mess, we decided that we didn’t want the owner coming into this place and it be a total mess. My wife, with some help from my Mom got cleaning. It took about three days to get to what most people would call normal. I applaud them for their hard work. Rest assured, I bought my wife flowers. (In my defense, I work full time and am taking two college courses, Math and history, which are like a full time job for me)

Long story short, the spirit in our house has completely changed. My wife feels much more relaxed. She doesn’t feel the weight of a dirty house. She no longer feels like spending a little time on the computer is wasting her time that she should be using to clean. (Oops, maybe she will read my blog now) The kids aren’t fighting as much. Everything is much calmer. I think the spirit may very well be more able to dwell in our home. Perhaps not because of the cleanliness itself, but because it is easier for us to act in ways that invite the spirit in more because of the cleanliness.

I personally feel that, when everything is disorganized, somehow your brain gets all mixed up and confounded and you are more likely to get frustrated and/or angry.

Perhaps cleanliness is next to Godliness.


Eric Nielson said...

Well done. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my experience is similar to yours all around.

The statement sounds like something BY would have said.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. We have been fortunate enough to move every 3 or so years... otherwise, the clutter gets overwhelming.

And like you said, it's not filth, it's clutter. Very important papers that i need to go through... souveniers that i don't want to part with... Credit card offers that i need to shred. Ugh.

So when i did jst go through and pitch stuff out, suddenly, i felt about 20 lbs lighter. Very refreshing.

C Jones said...

Hi Ian-

Nice move with the flowers :->

I am a weird combination of packrat and neat freak. I can't relax with clutter around, but I have a lot of books, projects, lesson files, etc. that I can't part with.

My solution has been frequent radical purging when the proper ruthless mood strikes, and lots of bookcases all over the house. I also have one room that has some huge file cabinets along with a big closet and I allow myself to leave that one room messy when I'm working on a lesson or project.

I agree with you that less mess = less stress = more spirit.