Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sweeping My Way to Happiness. . .

(Just, sort of, kidding.)

My broom.

Today, to carry on what I began yesterday, I worked. I scrubbed the bathroom. I organized a cupboard. I made rice to freeze in portions for later meals. I swept. And while I swept, I thought:

I like this broom. If you’re going to sweep, you may as well do it with a beautiful broom! Easily entertained by some pretty ordinary, even inane, things, I watched the broom do its work and was in awe of how much it swept up. How did that popcorn get into the way-corner where I never go? Why is there a maple leaf under the table? What in the world is that plastic thing? How did this much dirt get dragged in here? Oh, look, a game piece from when my grandkids were last here (how did I miss sweeping this out from under there before?).

I opened the front door to let in the day’s light breeze, gripped the bamboo handle, and watched the natural, green bristles of the broom move rhythmically across the floor, I remembered the day I bought the pretty, handmade broom and how much I liked having it then. I still do. Using good tools makes work nicer.

And I began to sing and sweep, sing and sweep, from room to room: “It's falling from the clouds, a strange and lovely sound. . .” And I literally began to dance around, singing, with my broom: “I hear it in the thunder and rain; It's ringing in the skies. . .”  And the Lord is there. And everything is sweet: “Like cannons in the night; The music of the universe plays. . .” That joy that I so often feel began to well up and bubble over, and suddenly everything seemed brighter:

Singing, You are holy great and mighty
The moon and the stars declare who You are
I'm so unworthy, but still You love me
Forever my heart will sing of how great You are

(It sounds like I’m getting overwrought with my description, doesn’t it? But this is really and truly the way it sometimes goes!)

Suddenly the mess in that second bedroom didn’t look so daunting. Suddenly the garage seemed quite manageable. And it shouldn’t be long before either of those areas of the house are tidy and orderly like the rest of this place.

I thought again of the importance of mundane work. “Jesus took a towel and washed the disciple’s feet.” Susan took a broom and swept her house. No one else is here today, and I’m not expecting anyone. But that doesn’t matter. A house should be clean even for the person living in it. “All in order, sweet and lovely” you know! And, like my friend Laurie always used to say, “You never know when someone might stop by!” She didn’t mean that because she’s showy or aims to impress. She just knows that a clean-enough house feels hospitable (even to yourself) and it allows you to relax if someone does stop by.

In fact, there’s a kind of “order” that’s not hospitable at all. It can be nervous or proud, controlling and even unkind. It’s not an order established by love and sweetness, but an order driven by perfectionism and fear. Hospitable order wears a smile and is done with a light hand and an outward and upward eye. It is relaxed, cares about others, and creates peace and rest. It is done for joy—a working as unto the Lord.

Yes, I am at peace here today. God is good, and I’m making a home for myself and a welcome for anyone who wants to walk through my door.

I finished sweeping and looked around to survey my work. Suddenly, I noticed that the living room was lighter. Literally. I’ve always wished the living room was not as dark as it was, but I’ve tried to keep my focus on all that I do love about it (as well as the whole house). And today, when my landlord had finished cleaning up the great branches that fell from that giant maple, suddenly, part of what shaded the room was gone. The room is lighter now. And, this too, is a blessing.

(I am a prolific post-er these past 24 hours!) 


  1. it was roughly 2 years after reading about your broom that I talked myself into buying a pretty broom, too (I was going to get the green also - because I liked yours so much, but ended up going with the aqua and red) I can say with all honesty, sweeping is not a chore; it is a pleasure ~ I LOVE my pretty broom and it was most definitely worth every penny!! Can't say I've danced with mine, though.... ;-)

    I've been unplugged for almost 2 weeks - so I've missed your prolific postings. I asked my hubby if he'd mind if I caught up... obviously, he didn't :-)

  2. Thanks, Anonymous. I will. :-)

    "The Momma", I love knowing you have (sort of) the same broom as me! It really is fun to sweep, huh? I'm really glad to see you back!