It may be summertime where you live, but it’s spring for me. I’ve been scrubbing my home like Mr. Clean on a coffee-high, getting ready for a wedding. At my house.
My stepdaughter, Hannah, and her fiancé, Kyle, are getting married Saturday. A year ago, when they asked if they could hold the wedding on our property, we were thrilled! What an honor to host such an intimate, important event. But like a leisurely dawn after a long darkness, realization soaked through in a slow burn.
People were coming to my house.
A lot of them.
Strangers, who might not ignore my dust bunnies, and who may not find my clutter as charming as I do.
Okay, I never found my clutter charming . . .
A few months ago I sat in my living room, head in my hands, wondering if it wouldn’t be easier to just accidentally set fire to it all and start over. In that moment, getting this home and property wedding-ready seemed about as likely as sunbathing in Antarctica. Possible, but not likely. And a miserable task, at that.
I wasn’t too worried about the outdoors. Father-of-the-bride, aka Tigger, has an endless source of energy. The man never stops. And since he works as a landscaper, I knew he’d whip this place together without breaking a sweat. I was wrong—he did sweat a lot—but the yard looks great.
And I helped, too, mainly because planting flowers was more fun than cleaning out closets. I’m quite creative with my procrastination techniques.
Finally, when I realized the cleaning fairies were apparently occupied elsewhere and my house wasn’t going to clean itself, I set up a game plan. I would go through, room by room, one room at a time, and work until it was showcase ready.
I started in one corner of each room and slogged my around, getting rid of anything I hadn’t used in a year. I dusted and donated, dusted and donated until that area looked Better-Homes-and-Gardens ready. Then I moved to the next space.
Little by little, it got done. My house looks better than it has in a long time, and I learned a couple of things along the way.
First, with each box of donations, I said a little prayer. I thanked God for blessing me with those items, and asked Him to bless someone else with them now. Second, I learned that when working in one room, if I let myself think about all the other rooms, I froze up. As long as I focused on the task at hand, I got stuff done.
Those two cleaning lessons are pretty good life lessons for me. First, like boxes of clutter, there are times I need to release toxic relationships from my life. This doesn’t mean those people have lost value; it simply means they’ve blessed me for a season, and maybe it’s time to let go. When that happens, wouldn’t it be great to let go of them with love and a prayer, instead of with anger and hurt and frustration?
Second, I’m reminded that with God I can handle anything, just for today. When I worry about all the tomorrows, I freeze up. But when I keep my focus on whatever task is before me, right now, I can move mountains. One box, one day at a time.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.