On Cleaning

Last year, during my English Communication class, the boys and girls started a heated debate.

The topic? Showering.

It started when a girl claimed that girls liked to put on make-up, dress nicely, and be clean just for the sake of looking nice; not for the sake of someone else.

A boy proclaimed that was false. He introduced a hypothetical scene: It’s a long weekend. You don’t need to go out to meet anyone. Will you shower? Will you put on make up?

The girl defiantly replied: Of course! I will shower every day even if I don’t go out, and don make up on for myself.

The boy kept arguing that unless you have to go out, there is no need for showering every day.

Since both sides weren’t going anywhere, in a desperate attempt for support, the girl looked at me and asked, “Profe Eli, would you shower in that scenario?”

I looked at her hopeful eyes and said honestly, “No. I hate showering.”

The whole class roared with laughter; including myself.

If you know me well, you know I hate showering. It’s not so much the act of showering that I hate, but getting up enough guts to go to the bathroom. I had a housemate who lovingly made a post-it that said ‘Shower for Jesus!’ which I pasted on my journal. Great reminder.

But it’s not like I’m an overall nasty, dirty person. There is certain dirtiness that I enjoy getting rid of: mold. Because I mind mold so much, I have been an avid bathroom cleaner and ventilation advocate. I throw food trash diligently so that it doesn’t smell or mold, open windows to let the air in constantly, and use a lot of bleach-based liquids to clean every corner of the bathroom (especially the drain).

However, I rarely clean things like the top of furniture, where a lot of dust gathers, am an average floor sweeper, and rarely mop my floors. The truth is, I don’t think anyone can keep themselves and their house c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y clean. All Cleaners have a blind spot and a forte. Everyone has what we shall call a Cleaning Personality. My cleaning personality is anti-mold. With everything else, I am pretty liberal.

Thus, in cleaning terms, my kryptonite is showering, I am a Superman against mold, and I am unmindful about dust gathering.

Since all of us have different cleaning personalities, we might be super clean in certain areas while neglectful of others. So we end up having clean selves or homes in certain aspects and dirty ones in other aspects.

Spiritually speaking, we might notice some people haven’t cleaned up their ‘mold’, and judge them for not being a true/good Christian. Instead of judging, it is better if we get down on our knees to serve them in their weak area, which for us might be a strength. And while we are on our knees, we might notice an area in their home that is squeaky clean. Then, we can ask them to teach us to clean that part of our homes as well, as we will realize that had been a weak spot for us.

I will forever need someone next to me who encourages me to take showers. And spiritually, I will forever need someone/something to keep me accountable on my judging tendencies. I can help people notice and clean out mold as a mold-removal-enthusiast. And spiritually, I can help people with discernment through my logical and analytical thinking skills. And just as I don’t notice dust to be something dirty, I would appreciate someone helping me notice the dusty areas of my home. In a similar way, through many different Feeling friends, I appreciate learning to get in touch with my emotions and the emotions of others.

Ah, cleaning. So many thoughts have sprung from this mundane word and action.