Cleaning, God, and dust

Surely it is a simple thing: Do it! Or your place won’t be clean. Or if you live alone maybe it is making sure that you don’t speak to the dust? (We all know where that goes). Or perhaps it is imagining that you are performing surgery while wearing your marigolds, and doing the dishes, so you don’t get too bored?

House cleaning is a good place think. There’s a chapter in a popular best-seller which I feel is relevant ‘And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…’ (Genesis 2:7) I like that kind of thinking. While not of a particular denomination myself, I like the idea that in the small London flat where I write and clean, there is a lot of the stuff from where humanity springs, knocking about, having a beer.

Thinking back to life as a student, the memories of living in dusty shared halls come along too, the commitment in keeping the place clean, where it didn’t happen, and the social repercussions.

There was plenty said about the topic, much of which, as you can imagine, was quite elevated ‘God calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales’ (Mathew 10:30).

A bit like that.

So in my sweep around today, and the surgery earlier, I also thought about a part from ‘Meeting Joe Black’ where death answers a question about how he can do his ‘reaping’ while walking beside Anthony Hopkins along the street ‘So you understand the concept. While part of you is busy doing one thing, another part of you is doing another, perhaps even attending to the problems of your work. Correct?’

And I think that’s how it works. I think that’s how everything works when we do something that doesn’t demand a high level of your mental attention, and most would agree, that, there is much like house work, so now, when these responsibilities come, I wish that I had read what the British philosopher Alan Watts said many years ago, that: ‘This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.’

Here’s to you A.W.

And even that dirty git back at uni.


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