Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cleaning House

I've been contemplating lately. Dangerous stuff. I was cleaning my kitchen and my floors while I was thinking today. Cleaning always involves many repetitions of the Jesus prayer, because I particularly don't like to clean, hate dealing with dirt, etc. So I force myself to make it a spiritual exercise. Makes it more palatable. I used to get really really angry whenever I had to clean, while I was cleaning, etc. I don't anymore, so I think there's been some growth there, over the years. The only remedy to the anger, though, is the Jesus Prayer.

But the stupid thing is, I can't even do that without another track in my brain being like: "Oh, wow! Aren't I cool? I'm cleaning my kitchen and praying the Jesus Prayer! Aren't I so very very spiritual? Yay, look at me. Wheeee! I'm praying the Jesus Prayer....etc."

Meanwhile, the other track in my brain is really trying hard: "Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Oh Lord..."

And a third track in my brain: "Sheesh! I can't believe I'm having those thoughts. God, I'm so awful! I'm like a toddler who pees her pants and wets the bed all the time, and the one time I do go potty I feel like I ought to get some national recognition! Sheesh! Have mercy on me a sinner...back to the Jesus prayer track..."

And the DIRT that's coming out of my wet/dry vac (I clean it after it cleans my floors) is just amazing. Something to contemplate, pointing to a higher reality, surely.

So I'm doing all this cleaning (I went through an entire "magic eraser" sponge!) and I'm contemplating the fact that I have such a hard time seeing dirt until it gets really bad. Then I realized I have a hard time the same way with my sins. I just don't see them, and I gloss over them, ignore them, etc. But they are there all the time.

From a distance it might look OK, but up close...ugh. Up close it's pretty bad!

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.


gemma said...

Oh Man, have you captured it perfectly. You're an amazing woman Alana.

james said...

You know, you're being way too hard on yourself and your over-analyzing all this stuff to death. I'm just being blunt with you. If you are anything, a pride-filled self-righteous person you are not.

Remember that passing thoughts and the will are two different things entirely. If my will is to remain pure, fleeting impure thoughts do not endanger me as long as I stick to my guns and ask God to help me.

I might have fleeting thoughts of violence toward someone, but if my will is to do no harm and I do not accept (or entertain) those evil thoughts they aren't mine.

elizabeth said...

wow. hmmm. i do not know who james is, may he be blessed by God, but i do not think this is an example of over-analysing...

anyway. :)

i HEAR you. i thought of your post again this AM as i was cleaning my bathroom floor before going to work and thinking, oh i should pray too...

i appreciate your honesty and there was a lot of dirt on my floor too and yes, my soul as well...

thank God it is almost lent!!!

Ishmael said...

I really appreciate this post. I'm finding the same thing, not that I'm cleaning my floor as thoroughly as I should be, but in my prayers, I find that my mind keeps doubling back on itself in exactly the way you describe.

There's certainly an appropriate parallel between cleaning the dirt from your house and simultaneously clearing the dirt from your mind. But wow, the ego is even harder to keep away than the dirt.

Alana said...

Oh, no James! I am full of pride, self-righteousness, envy, self-pity, self-protectiveness, a lack of love...and more. Just chock full.

God have mercy on me a sinner. These are just some simple thoughts from one wanting to truly learn how to pray.

Pray for me, a sinner!