My apartment complex office does a once a year walk through of each of the 500 or so living quarters. I put a lot of time cleaning up last night and early this morning- I don't want to be embarrassed at what they see! This is from June 14, 2007.
I have clean carpets. Every six months, my apartment complex arranges for the free cleaning, one of the perks of living here. They shampooed the rugs this past Monday and as always, the result was terrific. My only responsibility is to get everything off the floor so the men can do their job. In the middle of the living room was an old, red heavy couch the guy next door gave me a number of years ago when he decided to get rid of it. On Tuesday, I concluded it had to go. Ben Johnson, one of our coaches, is moving out of his apartment. He had on old recliner and knew of another chair I could have to take up the space in front of the television set. When Ben made his furniture delivery, we pulled the couch away from the wall it had rested against for five years. I was embarrassed. The area surrounding where the couch had been was spotless but the rectangular sofa space was disgraceful. It was covered with dust-balls, food particles, and I'm not sure what the rest of that stuff was. After Ben left, my first order of business was to restore order to the part of the carpet that would now be partially exposed. It wasn't difficult. A good vacuuming and washing of the baseboard left it equal to the rest of the rug. Actually, it's probably even a little better without any wear-and-tear for the past half-decade and not quite as faded.
I'll be honest. I don't vacuum under the couch or the bed unless I absolutely have to. Who's going to see it, anyway? (I had a debate with my students this year as to whether I should iron the back of a dress shirt if I'm going to be wearing a jacket and no one will be wiser. The girls replied in the affirmative while most of the boys said it was a waste of time.) In Matthew 23, while confronting the religious leaders, Jesus uses several illustrations of looking good on the outside while being rotten on the inside. In verse 25, he refers to cups/dishes which were scrubbed on the exterior but whose interiors were caked with greed and self-indulgence. Two verses later, he compares the spiritual elite to tombs, whitewashed and ornate to the observer but containing bodies and bones, unclean to the Israelites, inside the walls. The thrust of the Savior in the section was hypocrisy, a character trait which has not become extinct in the succeeding two millenia. I can make myself presentable to the world while sporting a very different interior. It isn't hard- well, that hard- to make Apt. 3329 semi-presentable with a reasonable amount of time to work with. I would be well-advised to move the furniture occasionally when I do. My spiritual life could use some rearranging and vacuuming as well. It's probably best if I don't wait five years to do so. The memory of what resided under that old, red couch is a pretty good incentive!
Applicable quote of the day:
"All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org