As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cleaning House

For the past seven years, we've been blessed to have someone come in to help with housework once every two weeks.  In the very beginning I was a working mother with two children under three, and five months along in my third pregnancy.  I needed the help!  And she was a Godsend.  Many times over those seven years, particularly since I started staying home full time, I felt guilty about spending the money on something I was home to do myself.  But if I was honest with myself it took everything I had (or so I thought) to stay on top of the day-to-day house cleaning, not to mention our busy homeschooling schedule.  When a veteran homeschooling Mom expressed to me once that if she could do anything different it would have been to hire a housecleaner no matter what sacrifices needed to be made, I felt a little easier spending the money.  "I need this," I thought.  And indeed it has been so very worth it.

But times changes and sometimes life circumstances require financial cuts to be made.  As our family grows in size and outgrows our current vehicle, we find ourselves in the position of needing to pull financial resources from wherever we can, which is not a lot of places. But house cleaning was definitely one of them.  So we made the decision last month that after seven (great!) years, we would go it on our own.  It was a scary prospect to me.  We've almost doubled in family size since we first hired her and our daily commitments have grown in kind.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit worried about how we'd manage. 

As it turns out, we're doing just fine.  Better than fine in fact.  I'm finding that I actually like getting into every nook and cranny of my house.  When you have someone who only comes in every two weeks and your family is the size of mine, there is still lots of work to do on a daily basis so it's not as if I've been doing nothing all this time.  But there were a few key jobs that I never touched because I relied on her to get them done, which she did.  Now that we've absorbed those jobs into our household routine however, I find it's giving me more energy and desire to do the lingering work that I've neglected for so long.  Getting down into the dirt of my home on my own helps me to get a full picture of everything that needs to be done, and doing the job myself (instead of paying someone else to do the hard stuff) feels tremendously satisfying.

As we prepare to enter Lent, I think it is much the same way.  I can see so many ways that I've neglected the big parts of my spiritual life - that I've come to rely on those around me to do the tough work I don't want to do myself. And yet, lately, I've really felt the difference.  I've had a difficult time articulating it, but when I'm with my friends and they're sharing where they're at in their lives, I can see that they relate to each other and to the Lord much differently than they relate to me.  I feel the distance and I long to bridge the gap, but I haven't been doing the work.  I want to be more than "fluff", but as long as I'm only living on the surface and counting on the experience of others to get me through, I'm afraid that's where I'll stay.

And so for me, this Lent is really going to be about getting to the deep areas of my spiritual life.  Getting my hands into each nook and cranny on my own, so that I can really be 100% invested in my own spiritual maintenance.  Because when it really comes down to it, it's good to do the work ourselves.  They say our homes are often a reflection of us, and I know that just as with my house, the time has come for me to stop outsourcing the tough stuff and just do it myself.  And just like my home I know the Lord will meet me where I am and help me to do the things I need to do, even the things I think I can't do.  Because of course at the end of the day it's not about how much I do or how many things I check off a list.  It's about being present to a God who loves me, and who desires my ultimate perfection and happiness.

"There is an explanation, then, for any possible difficulty in approaching a reality of the religious kind, and this can be found in the personal circumstances in which we live, in the sphere of contemporary attitudes.  All too easily, the absence of education in the natural religious sense makes us feel that those realities, which are really rooted in our own flesh and our own spirit, are far removed from us, whereas on the contrary, the liveliness of the presence of the religious spirit makes the terms of a reality such as the Church more easily understood."  (Luigi Giussani, Why the Church)

1 comment :

  1. Sounds like a major commitment. Hope it proves fruitful.