Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Didn’t I Just Clean This House?

We had a rite of passage in the library for new pages, the folks who put away all the returned books.  They truly became part of the family of staff when they made the observation, “Didn’t I just clear this cart?”  After we finished laughing we assured them that yes, they had just put all those books away. In the meantime, thirty more people had come in and returned books, filling the cart once more.

Library work is not for those who like closure.  New employees who thought they’d actually finish their work in a day, a week, a month were quickly disappointed.  Our job was to keep one step ahead of chaos.  Like Mickey, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, in Disney’s Fantasia, the circulation desk staff bravely tried to maintain order as our patrons passed through our doors carrying armloads of books like so many pail-toting brooms.

Now my pail-toting brooms are toy-toting boys who manage to create endless piles of dishes and cups to clean, laundry to do, and messes to straighten. Like our library’s patrons they ask interesting questions, have a boundless curiosity, and love to read.  There’s no closure, only the change of seasons and the growth and deepening of lives. 

So here I sit, having just cleaned the house. Again.  I’ll do it again and again, trying to keep one step ahead of chaos. I know better than to ask, “didn’t I just clean this?”

While I cleaned I plugged in the iTouch and listened to the album at the top of the list.  As I scrubbed, Charlie Peacock sang 

I have got to clean house

Gotta make my bed

Gotta clear my head

It's gettin' kinda stuffy in here

Smells sorta funky too

Like monkeys at the zoo;

Spirit come flush the lies out

One of the things I love about Sunday morning worship is the chance to sit quietly and clean house, especially on communion Sunday.  The weekly grind fills my mind and soul with gunk as surely as those brooms filled Mickey’s master’s workshop with water.  I treasure one entire hour (!) of reflection, confession, and praise as my Master puts things back in order. He never asks “didn’t I just clean this?”  He welcomes my confession and strengthens me as I confess my weaknesses to him. I know that one day there will be closure, for there won’t be any housework in heaven.  But for now I’m thankful for the one in whom there is no chaos, the one who washes me white as snow.  

A magic eraser, indeed.

1 comment:

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, what a lesson! I love this analogy, Karen. Definitely one I can relate to (surprised? LOL). Good stuff!