Brilliant red tulips glisten in the sun. Young grass sways in the wind — each blade wonderfully made. Trees come back to life, and everything is new and fresh.
Each year, long before the air is warm enough, I open the windows. I want the stale air out, I say. And even I, the least domestic of three sisters, am inspired and start to deep clean. Cobwebs are hunted down. Dust is scooted outside and heavy furniture is rearranged.
There’s something immensely satisfying about clearing out the dirt and clutter in our homes and in our spiritual lives. And I think there’s something about spring that invites us to do both.
Jews scrub their homes and tidy up their souls in preparation for Passover. Catholics welcome new members at Easter. And in my own family, several of us have cracked open the doors of our hearts just as the daffodils started to bloom.
It was the spring of 1977 — April, in fact — when my parents decided to follow Jesus. Where I grew up, we’d call it being saved or born again. Even though I was young, I remember going to the tiny, white church the night their lives started to change. I doubt more than 60 people could have squeezed into those wooden pews, but in my mind I can still see us sitting on the left side close to the front.
The details get fuzzy for me until the day Mom and Dad were baptized. We gathered just outside of town at a small pond. Their one special request was that they be baptized in unison. So, with the three of us girls standing on the bank, my parents sank back into the muddy water and rose feeling cleaner than they ever had before. They had let go of unforgiveness and tossed out an old stack of pride. They felt free.
I’m sure there were other things weighing on them, habits they had to get rid of later, but I’ve never asked. I have enough of my own spiritual clutter to work on.
I need to sweep out some worry and fear. Maybe I’ll toss envy and gossip in the wash.
And I need to open a window and let some fresh spring air in. Even a soul can get stale.