A bright morning sun came shining through the patio's sliding glass door and showed me what a poor job I had done vacuuming and dusting over the winter.
I try to keep the house tidy and uncluttered. Dishes done daily. Laundry done weekly. Bathroom scrubbed when needed. And, throughout a Seattle winter with its dark skies and short hours of daylight, the dust and whatever it is that shows up on carpets around the edge of a room were invisible.
Or I just never looked for them.
Out of sight, out of mind. But, apparently, not out of existence; certainly not growing smaller.
So I did a more thorough job of vacuuming, using the sweeper's hose and one of the little attachments. And I dusted more carefully and sprayed a bit of furniture polish on some of the wooden items.
It took maybe 15 minutes and I felt rather proud of myself all day. Don't recall when I've done it since.
You know what it's like: Look out the back door as spring rolls around and the yard seems — beat up and ready for some TLC. It's warm, sunny. And so you step outside and get a number of things done. Items you haven't paid attention to (or had to pay attention to) since last fall.
On a roll, you take a tour inside with a more critical eye and, yes, you could do this, that and the other in here. Nice to get those things done, too. Very nice.
Spring! Renewed life. Renewed energy. Renewed hope. Mother Nature's shot in the arm. Or kick in the pants.
That's when we peek out of our little winter warrens, look around and once again get moving. More than that, we want to get moving.
In a similar way, maybe particularly around Easter, the Holy Spirit gives a shot in the arm. A gentle nudge on the back.
Filled with the hope and joy that come with spring, with the blessing and grace that can be realized at Easter and the weeks that follow, we see not our house but our home, our family, our lives, our very selves, in a better light.
Yes, where things are tidy and uncluttered. But also where there's dust and dirt.
Nothing catastrophic (please, God) but some places, some situations, that could use a little more attention or a little more effort.
Where and what? There's no one-size-fits-all, but a checklist might help. Some items you might quite honestly be able to mark "Doing Great!" But, odds are, a few others fall into the category of "Could Use a Little Work."
Your marriage. Your children. Your parents and siblings. Your friends.
Your prayer life. Your again taking up the challenge of letting go of favorite sins. (Don't we all have those?)
Your paying attention to what God is inviting you to do with your life right here, right now.
Your acknowledging and accepting your limitations and willingness to allow others to help you.
Your wanting to be, and working at becoming, a person who does feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, care for the sick, and so on, a list from Matthew 25:31-40. In other words, working at becoming the person — the saint — God created you to be.
Dodds and his late wife, Monica, were the founders of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver (www.FSJC.org). He can be contacted at BillDodds@YourAgingParent.com.