I think you can clean a basement with flair. It takes some imagination though. Right now, I’m covered with dust and dead ladybugs. Cleaning a basement this morning made me think about what motivates me to do it at all:
1.I have to believe in the inherent rightness of order and beauty.
2.I have to believe it can become a holy place. Why not? Why couldn’t wonderful and miraculous things happen in my basement?
Living with flair means turning the boring and hard into the stuff of wonder.
Cleaning a basement means you touch objects: papers, toys, stuff. Then you reminisce briefly. Then you toss that thing in a bin for Salvation Army, a recycling bin, or the Big Black Trash Bag. I realize the deep psychology behind my attachment to objects. There’s a story attached to each one; I know this. But there’s also freedom in moving on to new stories, cleansing a home, and getting some fresh air in.
I have to make space for the new.
As I cleaned my office in the far recesses of the basement this morning, I thought about how to sanctify it somehow. As I cleaned, I tried to set it apart for the use it would have. How much grading, lesson planning, reflection, writing, or correspondence happens right in that space? What if, as I cleaned, I prayed that the space would be used for good, for blessing, for unimaginable joy? Why do we think churches or temples are the only holy sites?
I moved onto the unholy play area. As I tossed toys and torn Polly Pocket dresses (those things are the bane of my existence), I prayed over the new space. Could God infuse the playroom with wonder, creativity, and friendship? Could miracles happen in my dusty basement? What children would play here? What students would gather? What family memories would happen and be stored deep for generations?
My prayers, often, are too limited in scope. Not today. Not in my basement.
Cleaning a basement has something to do with cleaning the heart and mind and inviting beauty in. Living with flair means setting apart the dirtiest and dustiest (the bowels of a house!) for a joyous use.