"The contemplative in me recognizes the sacred potential in the mundane task, even as the terminally busy go-getter resents the necessity of repetition." ~ Kathleen Norris
This week I've yielded myself completely to spring cleaning. I've plunged in deep and engaged in a rhythm of sorting, folding, tossing, and general tidying. Each year I'm surprised to find myself actually enjoying this process. Of course it's satisfying to create a bit of order out of chaos, but it's also satisfying to ponder the powerful spiritual metaphors which are wrapped up in our most essential tasks.
Then [Interpreter] took [Christian] by the hand, and led him into a very large Parlour that was full of dust, because never swept; the which, after he had received a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep: Now when he began to sweep, the dust began to so abundantly fly about, that Christian had almost therewith been choaked: Then said Interpreter to a Damsel that stood by, Bring hither Water, and Sprinkle the Room; which when she had done, was swept and cleansed with pleasure . . .
This is to shew thee, that when the Gospel comes in the sweet and precious influences thereof to the heart, then I say, even as thou sawest the Damsel lay the dust by sprinkling the Floor with Water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean, through the Faith of it; and consequently fit for the King of Glory to inhabit.
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress
I found it remarkable -- and still find it remarkable -- that in that big, fancy church, after all of the dress-up and the formalities of the wedding mass, homage was being paid to the lowly truth that we human beings must wash the dishes after we eat and drink...
...The Christian religion asks us to place our trust not in ideas, and certainly not in ideologies, but in a God who was vulnerable enough to become human and die, and who desires to be present to us in our everyday circumstances.
I wonder what would happen if started to view housework as a contemplative act with sacred potential. I wonder if dying to my daily whims might in time produce more literary fruit. Is it possible for me to find a constant source of joy in housework?
Here are links to a couple of my favorite blogs which often attach spiritual significance to essential daily tasks:
We are mothers and daughters spread out along the East Coast, with one roaming Marine wife currently in California. After many unfulfilling phone conversations in which we attempted (with little success) to describe with any accuracy our ongoing projects and domestic triumphs, this blog was born. We found that we also have something to say about making a home.Auntie Leila is the main writer for this blog. I love her idea of the "reasonably clean house." She has seven grown kids and they all seem to like her. She is gracious and intelligent and has hobbies other than housework. (This gives me hope.)
I keep writing it out here everyday, the words I am seeking to live — about this wondrously messy, everyday-holy life….about finding the beauty and quiet, about slowing to see the sacred in the chaos, the Cross in the clothespin, the flame in the bush. Just listening – laundry, liturgy, life, — all of life, holy ground. A holy experience — because God has flaming bushes everywhere.Ann Voskamp is the author of the best selling book, A Thousand Splendid Gifts: Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. Her posts are contemplative and poetic.
I recently found this one:
What does the gospel of Jesus Christ have to do with our everyday, mundane lives in the home? Domestic Kingdom is a blog dedicated to discussing this question.This blog author, Gloria Furman, has written a book on this subject entitled Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home.
I'd love to know your thoughts about the mundane tasks you are faced with each day. Do you drag your feet and dread them like I often do?
Blessings to all as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection!