Back in late April, when I'd originally planned my Spring Cleaning for 2012, a number of things prevented me from actually doing the cleaning I had planned to do. And once my schedule cleared, I kind of put things off. So Spring Cleaning has become Mid-Summer Cleaning, which certainly makes one sweat a lot more. I scrubbed the entire kitchen and pantry from top to bottom and re-organized most of their contents. My spouse helped me clean the bathroom, though a little bit accidentally, due to a leaky bathtub. And I finally rotated my wardrobe. In a sense, I've been cleaning house mentally and spiritually as well, shaking the cobwebs out of the corners of my brain and shooing dust bunnies from my heart.
I wouldn't say that I've learned any new spiritual insight, necessarily, or that I've gained special understanding. I've just taken stock of where I've been for the last year and where I'm going in the coming year. Sometimes it's good to get one's thoughts and feelings in order before a time of transition: to remember the good times in the last few years, take an inventory of relationships, and to acknowledge fears about the future.
This weekend, it's been incredibly warm. I was liturgist today at church, and H-EUMC doesn't have air conditioning. My colleague, Pastor Lisa, was preaching. Just before we processed in during the opening hymn, we looked at one another and noticed sweat on each others' brows. Lisa said, "I'm glad you're up there with me today." It was good to be present with her even in the stickiness. As I heaved aside appliances and scrubbed the kitchen floor last week, and as I did the same in the bedroom earlier today, I became very sticky. It was as if I was purging myself of all the "stuff" of the last couple of years. It's good to release some of the mental and emotional clutter, as well as the physical clutter, in preparation for the deluge of new experiences and relationships to come.
Right now, CUMC's Bridge Builders is in North Dakota on mission among the Lakota Tribe. I'm sure that they are sweating through their work as a mission team, and they are probably spiritually taking stock, too. A mission trip will do that to you. It gives you perspective on where you've been and where you're going, and it gives you a new context in which you can come to understand your own identity and spiritually. Sometimes a change of pace and a little hard work is all it takes to spiritually "clean house." I hope that, whatever they're up to right now, they are learning and encouraging and being encouraged. And I hope that they're releasing some of the "stuff" they've accumulated in their hearts to make room for more people and more of God in their lives.
What do you do when you become a little mentally and spiritually "overfull"? How do you find ways to "clean house" in your mind and heart?