Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Have Some Dirt, Please

What? Dirt on Gloria's Windowsill?

I stared in shock as a morning sunbeam highlighted some dust on my friend Gloria’s bathroom windowsill. As I swiped my finger beneath a doily, I sighed in bliss. “Oh goody, dirt. She is human after all,” I thought.
Every other time we’d visited Gloria and Brad their home sparkled, no curtain fold out of place, no streaks on the windows, no breakfast crumbs overlooked on the table.  Plus, Gloria’s skill at decorating would make Martha Stewart feel right at home.
Although I continually joked about my lack of housekeeping genes, I secretly wished I were more conscientious and tidy.  When I found someone who enjoyed cleaning house and decorating, I had this love/hate thing going on.
I loved being around them, because they were all the discipline and enthusiasm for neatness that I was not. But I hated being around them, because they reminded me of my lack of domestic leanings. I felt inferior.  
My Happy Surprise was Short-lived
So, finding dust in Gloria’s house was the happy surprise I needed to chase the insecurity away. But only for a minute. After my initial elation, I was a mite ashamed of my immature attitude toward these dear friends. Instead of rejoicing only when I found a little grime, shouldn’t I be happy for their talent to keep an orderly, clean home?
Then I realized why we like to discover dust in other’s homes and lives: no one wants to feel alone in his or her weaknesses. If we find someone with the same or worse faults as ours, it comforts us, and releases us from self-condemnation.
This explains why some people love to find flaws in others, and spread nasty secrets about them, whether true or not. And why millions of readers enjoy magazines with squalid stories about famous people. We crave dirt on others’ windowsills, to make our own muck seem less harmful. We think, “Wow, I may have a lot of shortcomings, but at least I don’t ________.”
Dust Bunnies on My Soul
Whenever I’ve had this kind of prideful attitude toward someone, the Holy Spirit nudges me with, “And you’re so perfect?” His searchlight in my heart makes me realize that I’m only responsible for my own dirt, not anyone else’s. And I have too many dust bunnies in my soul to go pointing out the smudges in yours.
Next time I visit Gloria and Brad, I’ll be looking for fellowship, not grime. And if you come to my house on a sunny day, please don’t go near the windowsills!
Do you enjoy dusting? What is  your favorite household chore? Which is your least favorite?


  1. I do like dusting and vacuuming. My least favorite? Windows. Hands down.

  2. I like your message today Jeanette. I don't like dusting, but vacuuming for some reason offers a sense of accomplishment. I am the toilet cleaning guy here, so maybe it is just an excuse not to have to do that.

  3. I like dusting, but not cleaning mirrors.

  4. Hi Jeanette! I can relate to your message today...so easy to proclaim other people 'perfect' and decide that I am therefore a failure. Oh brother...I know God is shaking his head over that one.

    I don't mind dusting. I despise cleaning our shower. Ugh. Someone has to come up with a way to throw something into the stall, and make everything magically clean again!
    Happy Wednesday :)

  5. I love your comparisons. And got to admit that I feel much more at home visiting a "lived in" home than a spotless one. But with a dog and a cat, and two kids, if we don't count the big one who sleeps with me, living in my home, the idea of it being spotless is...not even on my radar. :) I don't actually mind cleaning, but it doesn't like me. Wreaks havoc on my back and sinuses. Ironing is the chore I like the least, as the clothes often still look like they could use a good iron when I'm done!

  6. I do not like dusting. I can't point out someone's dust (Speck in their eye) when I have a lot of clutter (a log in mine.)

  7. Wise words, Jen! Thanks so much. :) I do not like dusting, or cleaning at all for that matter. But I do prefer a clean house, or a tidy one at least, so I build character each time I pick up the dust rag and straighten things up. :)


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