When I was a little girl, I really liked the week every year that my mom set aside for spring cleaning. The best time was the day we took all the beautiful things out of their places for washing. The three places that housed the most treasures were the china cabinet and buffet in the dining room, and the shelves built into the back of my parents’ closet.
First, we emptied the china cabinet, which held the most beautiful treasures: a porcelain set of nut cups, a blue and gold teapot, hand-painted plates (frequently used for serving cookies), crystal water goblets and sherbets, and an iridescent, porcelain demitasse set – that I thought was a child’s tea party set. (Mom reinforced that thinking by using those little cups and saucers to serve me hot cocoa sometimes when I was sick with a cold and needed something to brighten my day.)
Second, we cleaned out the buffet. That held the good china (which we used whenever we had company) and Mom’s collection of vases of all sizes, shapes, and colors. The vases would be well used again for cut flowers throughout the upcoming summer.
Third, we removed all the treasures from the closet shelves. That’s where we stored a wide assortment of functional and non-functional pieces: pottery pitchers, dainty one-of-a kind cups and saucers, a few Depression glass pieces, and a brightly painted pottery rooster.
My mom and I worked together well. She handed me each piece, one by one, and I carried it to the kitchen. She told me the background of each piece as she gave it to me. Many of the pieces had been wedding presents. I remember her laughing when she handed me the colorful rooster and said, “People give the goofiest things for wedding presents. I just don’t know what they were thinking.”
When the counter was full of these dusty treasures, Mom washed each piece, and I dried it and carried it to the dining room table to continue to air dry. Then, we went back to taking out more pieces to be washed. When everything had been washed, Mom wiped down the shelves. We took a little break to be sure the shelves were good and dry. Then we reversed the process – I carried each piece to Mom for her to put back in its place. Everything was sparkling clean, and the treasures looked even better.
Last week I read about spring cleaning in Mornings with Jesus 2013: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul, one of the books I’m using for devotional readings this year. The scripture referenced was Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is – what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.”
Lisa Watson, the writer of this particular devotion wrote, “Spring has arrived and with it the never-ending pull to cast off the winter blahs, and to get my house in order by doing some serious spring cleaning. The Lord speaks of renewal as well, but He isn’t talking about our residences or any earthly pursuits. He is referring to the renewal of our faith; our commitment to our spiritual side, and a cleansing of our mind, body and soul.”
I’m thinking about what it means to do some spring cleaning of my soul. Perhaps it means I should take a day every spring to take out all the spiritual treasures I’ve accumulated over my lifetime, to dust them off and think about how God has taken care of me over the years and given me so many blessings – people in my life, experiences, opportunities . . . And to think about what God may be preparing me to do next, to “continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is . . . “