Had you asked me last week if my house was clean, I would have said, yes. But a few days ago, I started looking a little closer. I was quite shocked to discover that I had majorly failed the inspection.
I turned my attention upward, and honed in on the unsightly dust on my ceiling fans. Since my ceiling fans were “working,” I left them rather unattended. But my deep cleaning spree led me to find that the condition of my ceiling fans was completely unacceptable. The blades had accumulated an embarrassing layer of dust, the globes of the light fixtures were cloudy, and one or two light bulbs were burnt out.
Getting out the step stool and bucket of soapy water made me realize that my life, and even my marriage, are a lot like that ceiling fan. There is always something to keep working on; something to clean at a deeper level. I may work on some imperfections, hone some skills, practice some character-building, but the job is never really quite done.
For example, my husband and I roll through life, and since we keep moving at a steady pace, we often assume that no maintenance is needed, especially since the engine is still running without any squeaky belts or puffs of smoke. But the truth is that every engine needs maintenance, even if there is nothing seemingly wrong.
I’m sometimes guilty of thinking to myself, “I’m good. I’ve got it all together—he’s the one who needs to dust, sweep, and polish up his life.” But just like that ceiling fan, if I get out the magnifying glass, I will find that I still have way more to work on in my own life.
The funny thing about conducting your own personal spring cleaning is that the effects are far reaching. When you dust the blades of the ceiling fan, the air quality in the room improves. And when you do some dusting in your own life, your relationships with others, especially your partner, just might improve too.
It’s true, cleaning is hard work. Marriage is hard work too. But there is a great deal of pride in this type of work, even if you don’t always feel up to the task. I really hated every minute of labor I spent trying to clean my ceiling fans. But when I look up at them now, I am seriously proud. They look new. I don’t regret the time and effort I put into them. And when I look at my husband, I don’t regret a single moment of self-reflection that led me to get rid of some of the junk that didn’t need to be in my life. Because getting rid of it made more room for him.
Self-cleaning is the most rewarding of the janitorial fields. Give it a try. I’d be willing to bet you won’t regret it. If you make a habit of trying to create and maintain a gleaming environment in your life, some of that shine will likely rub off on your relationships too.
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