I woke up to the smell of bleach and the sound of a vacuum cleaner. I could hear my mom yelling for my dad outside my window. I plopped back down as I covered my head with the covers, groaning with the knowledge of what was coming. It was Saturday. I should be excited about this. I had plans that day—okay, as much as a 13 year old can considering I was land locked until the parents could take me somewhere. And from the sound of things, they had made plans for me. I crawled out of bed knowing the inevitable. I adjusted my wrinkled PJs, pushed my hair out of my face and made my way to the kitchen. Walking through the living room I was blinded by the sun as my parents had already opened all the windows and pushed the furniture to the middle of room, apparently preparing to wash windows. Ugh. I needed coffee. Yes, I was 13 and a coffee addict. Making my way to the breakfast bar I saw three plates with warm pancakes and a hot mug waiting for me. My brothers were still snoozing through the hustle and bustle that woke me up. I was reminded how much I hate being a light sleeper. As I took my seat and settled in I saw it. Staring at me, mocking me. My dad had even written my name fancy on the top to try and add some excitement. Or maybe he was being sarcastic. Either was likely. The daunting list stared at me, watching me as I ate my pancakes. I prolonged the eating, slowly enjoying every bite, knowing I had to accomplish that list soon after. To be honest, the list of chores wasn’t that terrible. The pain came from knowing my mother had to approve my work. What most people deemed clean, she believed could use a bit of improvement. Every drawer pushed in, every sheet washed and even the baseboards deserved a good wipe down.
Later in life, I would silently thank my parents for teaching me the importance of chores and learning how to clean properly. Being taught how to vacuum and dust is a skill I would soon find out many were lacking. Unbeknownst to my 13 year old self I would go through over 20 roommates in my lifetime (so far!) and being a clean person is a perk to everyone you live with. (I knew I was slowly morphing into my mother when I caught myself thinking in my southern twang, "were you raised in a barn?") Yet growing up in the “list, correction and ‘that's not good enough go back and fix it’" years, I was miserable. But the ends justified the means it took to get me here.
In the end, wiping away the clutter, grime, dirt and filth makes things new. The smell of a fresh, clean and awakened room is something that helps you realize how dirty it was to begin with.
My life is no different. I can see Him looking at me, gracefully handing me my list. He asks me to push in the drawers, reminding me that somethings need to be left to the imagination. He tells me to go get some bleach and I might need to get on my knees to get the job done. A little elbow grease and breaking a sweat never hurt anybody. There are some areas that might need to be scrubbed a little harder. He guides me as I clean off the layer of dead filth, the dust that is collecting and covering the truth of what lies underneath. As I pursue, clean and remove the clutter, the sun comes in. The purity of my true wealth comes through and I'm reminded what was there all along. I'll be back, there will be another Saturday morning with a list next to the plate of pancakes. But for right now, I’m going to bask in the Light that has brought me here.