Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dust on, dust off

Well, being at home today for the entire day resulted in my creation of a huge to-do list. That's always what happens on home days, days when I don't have a writing assignment to complete or anything else pressing means I have to pay attention to the things that haven't been getting my attention lately. And that usually means housework.

I don't like housework. I used to like it, I liked the mindless drone of the vac. and the piles of clean laundry… I never did like cleaning bathrooms (particularly toilets - yuck) but now I don't really prefer any of it. The constant clutter left by all five of us all over the house undoes me, and I find there's so much time that has to go into the de-cluttering before the cleaning can really begin.

So, in a grumpy and slightly martyred frame of mind, I pulled out the duster this morning and began to clean the uncluttered surfaces… which was limited to window ledges, baseboards, door jams, and other surfaces too small to collect much other than dust and the occasional errant bug, dog hair or unidentified crumb. I dusted with my nice faux feather Ikea duster, and worked my way around the main floor of our home, taking note of the tasks that lay ahead after this low impact chore was done. And, the more I looked and thought about all the mess ahead of me, the worse my attitude became.

I was in the piano room with duster in hand when I remembered some dusting of long, long ago, and in particular, a person came to mind. I remembered my grandmother, Chrissy Cook, wheelchair ridden from a spinal operation gone sideways, and how she spent 25 years in a wheelchair with very limited abilities in her upper body and none in her lower. My grandfather (same one as referred to in my last posting) cared for her needs… all of her personal needs, lifting her in and out of the car, bed, plus cooking, laundry, shopping, and gardening and cleaning. Except for dusting. This was one chore that my grandmother could do and enjoyed doing.

She'd hold a cloth duster in her hand, and every morning (I dust bi-weekly because it begins to show after that) my grandmother would wheel herself slowly around the main floor of their 1060's bungalow, and dust all the surfaces she could reach. And, when I was there visiting, I would help to do the surfaces she couldn't reach.

I never heard her complain… as a matter of fact I remember her happily doing what she could… her one small contribution to the upkeep of their home.

I complain. I begrudge my somewhat meaningless and endless list of chores that are involved in caring for our home. I'd rather write. I'd rather pay someone to do the housework… but that's another story. What I'm trying to say is that I've become jaded and lost focus on the reason why I do what I do… why it's important to be a good steward of the things I've been blessed with, and why having a good attitude about it is important. My grandmother could only do the dusting… I'm sure she wanted to do more, but just couldn't so she did it with joy.

So, I think I'd better dust myself off my high horse about keeping our home clean and tidy. It's what I've chosen to do for this season of my life, and what I've been given responsibility for. Yep, I'm going to have days where the mundane nature of the chore takes it's toll. But, when I dust, I'm going to remember my grandmother and be faithful and joyful (most days) in the little stuff.

'Cause maybe it's not so insignificant after all.


1 comment:

  1. That was very well put, makes me stop and think that next time, I'll be thankful that I can do those chores. . .



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