Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cleaning is Cathartic

So we are generally pretty busy on the weekends. Adam has been helping my Dad renovate a space on the 2nd floor of their barn/garage into an office. The project has been going on for many years as my Dad is designer/planner/carpenter of the whole thing. Every other weekend (or atleast once a month) we are up there so Adam can help with the construction. Some months we don't even have a Saturday at home between working at my Dad's, family parties, etc. We are just that busy. Well, in May we decided to "reclaim" some of those "at-home Saturdays". We actually had 2 in a row. Incredible! We have a list of things we want to get done around the house, but one of them was "hiding" in the back of our garage. You should know that our garage was a mess. There was a thin path (if you were lucky) to get you from the garage door to the freezer in the back. I joked that in order to get something out of the freezer I had to run an obstacle course...jump, twist, duck, turn, walk 2 steps, crawl. It was terrible! The garage was one of Adam's biggest frustrations. It was filled with extra wood brought home from "the job", tools, drywall, more spackle buckets then you knew what to do with, and a variety of other things (including things from the previous owner that we just never got rid of). I think you would have to see it to believe it, but it was really bad.

There was really no way to get our "To Do List" project from the back of the garage without an injury or Adam chucking things across the garage, so I finally said "enough is enough, we're cleaning this garage out!". So we spent our 1st Saturday at home cleaning out the garage. I can't believe how much wood he had stored in there. We threw so much away! (Luckily our township has an awesome trash collection and they took most of it.) There is just something amazing when you throw things away and re-organize. It's soothing for the soul. We can actually walk into the garage now. I think I could do a cartwheel in there, if I actually did cartwheels anymore. And cleaning out the garage actually became the catalyst for cleaning and straightening all around our house. We cleaned up our gardens and added some new perennials. We got rid of a stick pile along the side of our house that had been there for over a year. We have even cut our grass 3 times now since the grass started growing again. That's big for us!

I'm telling you, there is just something about cleaning out the mess, trashing the junk, and organizing your life that does things to you. It lifts a burden; it calms you. I think counseling does the same kind of thing (in theory). You talk about your junk, you learn to trash it and/or forgive, and you figure out how to "organize" your actions/reactions to things/people. I have been to a couple of Christian counselors over the past 10 years, to heal my junk and to heal my marriage junk. Being able to identify your sin issues is so helpful. By identifying when I'm not trusting or trying to control a situation, I can make different choices or behave differently. It can be very peaceful, it can lift burdens, and it can help you to focus on what's important once the "junk" is out of the way. But just like the garage, you can clean it out but it doesn't mean more "junk" won't come in or some of the same "junk" won't invade again. But now that we know how it feels to have a clean garage, we will hopefully be more vigilant about keeping the junk out and not let it get that cluttered again. Cleaning is cathartic. The hard part is making it a priority and deciding to do it!

2 comments:

Carolyn Byers Ruch said...

I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the inspiration...I have a lot of junk to trash. Thanks for reminding me what the end looks like--cartwheels in wide open spaces. Yippy!!! I feel motivated.

Jenn Walsh said...

Isn't it amazing what excites us as we get older? Used to be that a cherry popsicle would have us doing cartwheels! Maybe that was from the sugar? LOL! I am with you, have to do the mental cartwheel, it's been too long!

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