Springtime is here, and spring cleaning is on my mind. Well, truth be told, I feel like I’ve done nothing but cleaning for months. Moving and marriage and merging households will do that. But I loved the thoughts Colleen shared in her post that we’re featuring for today’s Sabbath Revival from March 2008
This is a guest post from Colleen. Here’s what she says about herself: “I am an experienced (humbled) mother of seven who wrote a book about the whole process, It Takes a Mother to Raise a Village. Right now I blog about the History of China , but I am looking forward to finishing this class and blogging about much more important things like laundry and dishes which have been sorely neglected ever since I started lurking around Segullah on a daily basis.
Put on your aprons—
My grandmother lived to be one hundred years old. When I reminisce about my grandmother, I either see her in her white nurses uniform, which she wore for longer than I have been alive or standing over the stove wearing an apron. With all those years of living, Nana had learned an important lesson: life is messy so you had better wear an apron.
Cooking is messy. Cleaning is messy. Taking care of sick people is messy. Tending children is messy. Canning is messy. Laundry is messy. Writing is messy. Gardening is messy. Sewing is messy. Anything that involves the creative process is messy. We wear gloves to garden, a smock to paint and burp cloths to rock babies. Is it any wonder that when Christ was washing the feet of his disciples and said, “ye should do as I have done to you,” that he first did gird himself with a towel. The creator of the world knew that creating disciples was not an orderly affair.
My house is surrounded by trees; trees are messy. Each year with the advent of spring, I watch in awe as Mother Nature multiplies and replenishes my yard. First the pinecones fall from the spruces, then the seedpods from the locus, the helicopter shaped seeds of the maples are followed by the cotton from the cottonwoods. Shortly thereafter the pollen follows, leaving a light, green dusting on the cars, the sidewalks and the patio furniture. Sweeping becomes ritualized as I participate in this ancient fertility rite of the grove. Spring sweeping is followed by fall raking but, oh, those glorious days of summer and shade. It makes the mess all worthwhile. Most messes are worthwhile-eventually.
Childbirth is messy (something my Lamaze class hadn’t really prepared me for but, then neither was I prepared for the massive loads of laundry that 8 lbs 10 oz could produce.) Nursing is messy. Toddlers are very messy. Little girls with nail polish are messy as are little boys and garden hoses. Football, lacrosse and Boy Scout camps are messy. First loves and dented fenders are messy (and expensive). Curfews and grades and becoming your own person can all be messy at times. Cutting the apron strings is not always done with surgical precision but oftentimes involves ripping and tearing.
Marriage is messy. Emotions like spring storms leave muddy puddles and broken branches. It is only fitting that a bride carries a handkerchief on her wedding day, there is a lot of nose blowing as two work to become one. Growing old is not an orderly affair either. Coloring your hair is messy. Menopause is chaotic. Grief is messy. Cancer makes your hair fall out and arthritis makes it harder to get down on your knees and clean up messes. Saying goodbye is messy and it is hard.
But then there is the flip side. Chaos precedes creation. Messes have a purpose. Just like the majesty and shelter of my trees. Oh, what glorious things we can create in this mess called life. How great is our joy in being part of the process. Somehow in all the mess making we create heaven. We create poems and paintings and books and music and gardens and babies and families and homes and kings and queens and priests and priestesses. Ladies, put on your aprons and let us know what messes you have “created” lately.