Growing up on a dairy farm in Ohio, in the days before central air-conditioning, Spring Cleaning was quite an undertaking in our big farm house. Even as the youngest of five children, my parents made sure that I had something to offer to the project. So, I was usually given the task of cleaning out the game closet. Truth be told, it kept me pretty busy and out of the way for a while and where I could do the least amount of any damage! Eventually, as I got older and could help more efficiently, I would help empty out all the kitchen cabinets and the china closet, hand washing and drying all the dishes. Throughout the whole house there were other closets to go through and sweeping out all the winter dust and dirt from the spring planting dust that made its way into the house. Oh, let’s not forget all the upstairs rooms too!
But, it’s my earliest memories of when I was little and cleaning out that game closet that I remember the most during this time of spring. There was a sense of calm, peace, and order that was returned to my life when we were finished. In bringing out all our toys and games from our little closet, I came across ones that were forgotten or we had thought were lost. Pieces to puzzles were placed back where they belonged, preventing them from being thrown out. The “discarded” was “restored” and not cast aside any longer.
On Ash Wednesday my college roommate posted these words on her Facebook:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit with in me.
Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
And renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10-12)
Ok, here comes my connection. Are you ready for this one? When I looked up the word lent, I thought and assumed I would find the expected things about 40 days, Jesus in the wilderness, his temptations and such, but what I didn’t know was that the word also refers to the “spring season.” Is it a coincidence that our Spring Cleaning time at home happens around the same time as Lent?
Those words of my dear friend struck me this time, bringing up memories of my old toys. During this Lenten season, I am the closet full of chaos and need to return to order and calm and more importantly, to be “cleaned.” I look to God to help me “reorganize” and “restore” my life so that I can again ring the bell with the joy of salvation at the sure knowledge of Christ’s resurrection.
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