Spring Cleaning

Days are getting longer, the sun is shining more often, and we are happy about the first warm rays of sunshine. Yet there is a little side effect: the brightness of the sun also shines on the dust layers which were hidden in the shade so far.

For my mother, this was the time when she started to do spring cleaning. It meant to take out the carpets and beat them, wash the curtains, wipe the floors, clean the closets, and maybe get rid of a few things that were no longer needed and simply taking up space. I do it differently: I do my cleaning in a weekly routine—more or less; a vacuum cleaner helps.

Both ways of going about these tasks have their place. No preference for one or the other. However, I remember the fresh smell after my mother’s spring cleaning and the good feeling after it was done. Even if she didn’t find all the corners that needed a cleaning, she knew there is a next time.

Here comes a different “spring cleaning” into the picture: confession. Every time at Mass and in the “Our Father,” we ask for forgiveness; we do the weekly cleaning, so to say. Yet some time ago, I realized that there were a few things that had to be cleaned out and laid on a table. A good cleaning was necessary. But where and when?

Well, I did find the place and ear. The priest’s welcoming “go ahead” made it easy to go forward. For me it meant to take up my responsibility for what had gone wrong and lay it before God in the presence of the priest and the Holy Spirit. Being granted forgiveness means nothing less than the promise and confirmation of the gospel and a realization of what happened in baptism once and for all. I was also encouraged to leave what had been laid on that table there.

Is there a change? Did it make a difference?

Yes, there is the risk of a new awareness. I hadn’t thought about that. Being a person quick to criticize and put my foot in things. I manage to jump over or avoid a few traps, at least now and then. That’s the risk.

And there will be a next “spring cleaning.” Let the sun and the fresh air in.

Annerose Schlaudraff, OblSB

Photo: Pasqueflowers on the College of Saint Benedict campus, taken by Sister Nancy Bauer