This week, as I committed to yet another spring cleaning with all the heavy maneuvering, dust bunny attacks, spider web encounters, and sticky messes, I awoke at dawn and wondered why my world can’t just stay straight and clean. As I stood with a mug of hot coffee in my hands and faced gray clouds, a gentle rain, and a soft breeze billowing in through the screen door, I considered the freshly turned fields, greening woods, and buds breaking through the surface to find the hidden sun. My soul glories in nature’s seasonal renewal. In beauty struggling to find its way, I discover my strength.
The maple tree branches outside my bedroom window sway like dancers dressed with dangling seed pods and pale green leaves. The pine trees rustle, and nesting birds chirp in a glorious cacophony. Baby chicks scurry about their pen, pecking away at anything that moves. Crawdads mound hills along the creek bed and frogs splash into the current when puppy and I draw near.
The kids are finishing finals, standardized testing, and meeting all the requirements to end the scholastic year as well as possible. I coordinate final grades, transcripts, and the next academic year’s plan. The garden is started but, with all the rain, hardly complete.
More burials at the cemetery mean I need to check records, find tombstones, keep names straight, and continue the stewardship role that has been handed on to me with all the devotion of an authentic community member.
World news troubles me with haunting specters of war, violence, hunger, and a future not of everlasting prosperity, but rather, of desperate grief. It seems that the clutter of human evil continues to mar the orderly beauty of our better nature.
I was asked this morning by a distant relative why I do not do something to make the situation better. His solution—blame and accusations—offer nothing. In fact, every grand world-fixing solution he suggested sounded more like a siren song of ages unending—Rings of Pride and Power: An attempt to recreate the world in an imperfect human image.
So where do I find solutions to the troubles of this world? How do I make anything better? Where are hope and happiness found?
Right in front of me, beside me, behind me, above and below me.
Living in the present moment, alive to the needs and concerns that I can attend to with sincere effort, teaches me to stretch beyond my preconceived notions, allowing me to respond to honest possibilities every moment of every day.
There are so many ways to live fully and generously: Give money to local and world charity organizations. Check in regularly with an elderly friend. Ask a son or daughter how they are doing and really listen without “fixing” but allow him or her to share issues and possible solutions. Offer honest insight to a friend with humility—knowing that each person must own their choices and the consequences of their actions. Nurture a garden. Plant a tree. Hang a bird feeder and set out a birdhouse. Stroll along a patch of road, picking up litter, and recycle if possible. Volunteer to teach reading or math to a struggling student. Read a good book to a little kid. Assist at a church fundraiser. Help at a food pantry. Learn to draw—and thus to see and appreciate—the details of God’s created world. Adopt a stray kitten. Brush and cuddle a friendly dog. Paint a house, a room, or a door, and fix the sagging porch steps. Stop by Grandpa’s place and help him clean his refrigerator. Drop off fresh fruits and vegetables at an aunt’s apartment. Help a neighbor with a clogged gutter. Offer a hand to a stranger carrying a heavy load to their car. Smile at the check-out lady. Tell the kid behind the counter to have a nice day and mean it. Wherever anger lunges its spikes, forgive and move on. When mistakes are made, say sorry and make amends. Being sorry is not humiliating. It’s healing. True contrition builds up—it never tears down. It is one of the deepest acts of love.
This afternoon, clouds and rain have given way to sunshine and warm temperatures. There is still mud on the back porch, an ancient mattress to dispose of, the garden to plant, and the pup needs another bath, but while corruption and evil, dust and decay flourish without my care, beauty and goodness must be cultivated continuously. And in God’s great wisdom, I am blessed with spring cleaning.
A. K. Frailey is the author of 16 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
Make the most of life’s journey.
For books by A. K. Frailey check out her Amazon Author Page
I found myself enchanted by the stories. I laughed and cried. I got some time to think about many things related to the world and to myself as a human being. ~Edith N. Mendel Fréccia
A series of inspirational reflections that continue my journey as a widow raising a large family in a turbulent world. As a sci-fi writer, I see extraordinary possibilities embedded in the fabric of the human race. We have been placed here on Earth for a reason.