Active Contemplation? Maybe

Yesterday I went off on a bender. It started with a thorough scrubbing of the kitchen sink which is now, once again, shiny and white. Then, it turned to the bathroom. I found myself a driven woman, sitting on the bathroom floor with Softscrub, a cloth and a scrub brush, shining up the baseboards – bleaching them out and scrubbing the baseboards and the tile floor. Shiny! White! Clean!

Why does this feel so good? I’ve been pondering that. It seems in part a bit like reconciliation. OK – so that’s weird, I know. But, I have looked at that sink and those baseboards and been bothered by them – just not bothered enough to do something about it. Kind of like those little things that separate me from God — not great, honking, MOTRTAL SINS, but little things that get in the way of a more open relationship. So, yesterday, I addressed the issues. I got out the scrub brush and the elbow grease and I looked the problem in the eye and said to myself “The fix won’t be perfect, but it will be attempted.” I did my part. I quit running from the problem.

I’m not sure that is the whole story. I read about how Contemplatives (monks, etc) engage in physical labor – active contemplation. That seems to be a part of the whole “clean it up” issue. We are both physical and spiritual creatures. All action can be seen as a prayer. That action might be genuflecting in church, making the sign of the cross or making lunch for a 3 year old or an 80 year old. That action might be a dance class or sweeping the floor or singing (to sing is to pray twice, you know.) The physical effort that went into making these parts of my house shiny and white was a form of prayer, I think. I lost myself in the Now. I existed in the moment. And, that seems to be a element of prayer for me.

What shall I clean today in prayer?

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