53/300: Spring Cleaning

Today is our pink unicorn, it’s our Haley’s Comet. Today is our Leap Year, double rainbow and triple peanut all rolled into one. Today, a Saturday, we have no commitments. In a house with three active children, a sports house, a dance house, a social house, such a day is as rare as a twelve leaf clover.

So, what do we do with a day like that?

Clean, of course, and all the little chores we’ve been meaning to get to for a while but have had neither the time nor the energy to take care of during our hectic fall and winter. No traveling. No practices. No games. Just taking care of business and it feels pretty good. Not even noon yet and I’ve already done the kitchen and the carpets; walked, fed and bathed the dog; stripped and changed the beds and fixed that knob on the medicine cabinet that’s been loose for a couple of years. My wife and kids have attacked the laundry, organized the movies, cleaned the basement and created a donate pile of toys and clothes.

As much as I hate chores, this feels pretty awesome. But I had another thought on my three mile adventure with Penny this morning. I thought about the other kind of spring cleaning – the mental and emotional kind. Maybe it’s the slightly less dreary weather. Maybe it’s just a good night’s sleep, but I woke up this morning wanting to rid myself of the other mess I’ve been living with for too long. I woke up willing and eager to not only change some light bulbs, but to let some things go.

I’m letting go of the the seething anger I’ve carried with me for a while, the general feeling of self-loathing that’s come with ideas unfulfilled and projects nearly completed. I’m deciding to let go of anxiety that I can control and to find some perspective in times when I can’t. I’m deciding to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and to pray for the wisdom to know the difference.

I don’t often write about faith and I won’t devote a lot of space to it here. (I have an idea for another blog about that later) But, I’ve realized that lately – for the last few weeks? few months? few years? – I haven’t put enough stock in mine. I’ve always been a person that has faith or, at least, the kind of person that wants to see himself as being a person of faith. But I haven’t been trusting it enough. I’ll sit and pray. I’ll meditate. I’ll chew on the homily at church. But, lately, it’s been an intellectual exercise instead of a practice in faith.

This morning, I woke up wanting to change that, to trust my faith enough to be able to let go of the things I’ve carried. Is it possible? I mean, can you just decide to have more faith in your faith? Can you just decide to let things go?

I’m not sure. But here’s what I do know – I know that I’ve decided for too long to keep my faith at arm’s length. I know I’ve decided to not let go of those things I’ve carried. I know I’ve decided, through complacency or fear, to not trust myself or others enough to let my faith do it’s job. And, if I’ve been able to decide those things, is there any reason why I can’t decide the opposite? Is there a reason why I can’t make the conscious decision to let go and let my faith take over?

Perhaps there are reasons why neither of those things will work. Perhaps there is some teleological basis for faith not being able to be controlled by choice. But I don’t know what that argument might be. All I know is that I’ve made small choices over time that have eroded my faith, that have eroded my trust. And I recognize that those choices have had the compound effect of making satisfaction and joy a struggle. So maybe I’ll try the other way for a while. Maybe I’ll practice making the choices that will allow me to let go and to let faith take over. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but that’s kind of the point.

We all have a choices to make. We can decide to spend our free Saturdays sitting on the couch or going to the movie. We can decide to chip in together to get things done. We can decide to shun our faith – if you have it – or to leave the window open and see what comes in.

I’m choosing spring cleaning. I’m choosing to clear out the closet and open the windows. It won’t make everything better right away, but it’s a start. And, I guess everything has to start somewhere.

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