Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Spiritual slovenly-ness

It's been a busy weekend - despite the fact that I didn't have to do the HIV/AIDS workshop (silly boy that I am, it's next weekend, not this last one). Still, I managed to fill up the weekend pretty well. But I've missed being out here in the blogosphere, and it feels good to get back. Got some peaceful Windham Hill music (Liz Story, Will Ackerman, Nightnoise, and others) "spinning" on the PC jukebox, and I'm reflecting on one of those "oh, wow...ouch" revelations that hit me this last Saturday morning.

In my AA home-group meeting, a man I respect said, "You know, the way I treat my living space is a pretty clear indication of my emotional and spiritual condition... and looking around recently, I realized I didn't like what my apartment said about me."

Well, I had known that little truism for a while - but I've also been pretty much in denial about it, at the same time. However, having it said "out in the open" made me look at my rating on the "Pig-Pen scale" (for all you Charlie Brown fans!), and I didn't score too well. Or I scored very well, depending on how you view it. (In fact, while I have never been much of a neatnik, a quick glance around indicated that if messiness and disorganization is a symptom of depression, I definitely should be on medication - lots of it.) So a significant part of the weekend became about reclaiming my living space. I've got a ways to go - but I'm making progress.

I even bought a vacuum cleaner.

(Now, to many folks this might not seem like a very big deal. I mean, on the long-end of 47 years old, you'd think that a vacuum cleaner would be pretty much standard fixture of life, right? And to be honest, it's not like I'm some kind of vacuuming-virgin or anything...I'd even had an honest-to-God Electrolux for a number of years. However, it died an irrevocable death before I moved to Chicago, and since 99% of my current residence is hardwood or tile, I'd just relied on ye olde Swiffer to pick up the dust-bunnies for some time. But for a variety of reasons, that just wasn't cutting it...so part of Saturday's adventures was a journey to that icon of suburban concupiscence, Wal-Mart, to pick up my very own floor-sucker.)

Capital purchases aside, this reflecting on the whole "how does your living space reflect 'how it is with your soul'?" question made me stop and take stock in a number of areas besides just personal cleanliness. How hard am I working to stay "up" with Br'er Cleaveland and the Pilgrimage? Not very. How's my devotional and prayer life been lately? Sad to say, not what it should be. In fact, there are a number of areas that are at least "a bubble off square" - and it wasn't a very pleasant recognition, to be even fractionally honest.

The difference, of course, is that these days I know what the answer is - even if I don't necessarily want to hear it. "Action conquers fear," a wise man in AA once told me...and so far as I can tell, it's still true. So I made an appointment to get together with some spiritually-anchored folks in the fellowship this weekend...and have been willing to at least pray to become willing to change what I'm doing. As is so often the case for me, when it comes to spiritual progress, I'm very content to "rest on my laurels," even though I know full well that nothing wilts faster than laurels-being-rested-on. I can coast for a while...but in the end, there's only one direction to coast successfully - downhill.

So - back to peeling the onion, eh? One more layer, one more surrender, one more recognition of who I am, and Whose I am - and a renewed effort to live this day in the knowledge of the Love that surrounds me like a warm blanket.
God, I offer myself to You, broken and damaged as I am, for You to build with and to with as You choose. Relieve me of the bondage of self - my selfishness, my self-centeredness, my self-seeking - that I might better do Your will. Take away my difficulties - all the nonsense that blocks me from You - so that victory over those difficulties might bear witness to those that need to know You of Your power, your love, and your way of life. Help me to even want to do Your will - because without Your help, I'm pretty sure I'm done-for before I even start. Amen. (my own liberal reading of AA's "3rd step prayer")


Im A Foto Nut said...

It sure was a God thing that I read this today! Just what I needed to hear. It also reminded me that while action conquers fear, it also creats motivation. If you never get out of bed you will never feel like getting in the shower. If you never get in the shower you will never feel like going to work. Now that may seem pretty elementary to most folks, but there are days, many as a matter of fact, that I remind myself of this very thing just to get myself going and off to work.

Just as a side note - in regards to a certain departed female, the statement, "You know, the way I treat my living space is a pretty clear indication of my emotional and spiritual condition..." couldn't have been more true. She actually had enough clothes for every one in the house so that laundry was only required to be done every 2 months or so. (Yes the piles were huge.) Furthermore, that is about the same lenght of time between her parent's visits. If it wouldn't have been for her mother she would just heve kept buying clothes.

New Life said...

Great post. I like what you said about cleaning out the clutter (paraphrase). If my house is cluttered or my office it is usually an indication that I have some spiritual and emotional clutter as well.

Action conquers fear. I love it!