Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Vacuum Cleaner Testimony

I have always said that my true testimony of the Church is reflected in the fact that I’m there at my meetings every Sunday. I hate meetings. Not just Sunday meetings-- I hate meetings of any kind. I think it has to do with having to be at a particular place and a particular time with lots of other people, because I actually love singing and praying with my fellow saints and partaking of the sacrament and listening to one another teach, and I’m ALWAYS glad I came. It’s just getting there in the first place that is a true test of my commitment.

A couple weeks ago I found a truer test than attending meetings. It’s vacuuming.

Intellectually, I’m thankful for the vacuum cleaner. My grandmother didn’t have a vacuum cleaner. Actually, she didn’t have any carpets, so you might say she didn’t have need for one, but I remember cleaning her house with a broom and a dust mop. I would wrap a towel around the broom to get the spider webs out of the corners up next to the ceiling. I’m looking back through about fifty years of memory to the last time I helped clean her house, and I can still see the dust stirred up by the broom. Yes, a vacuum would have made cleaning grandma’s house lots easier.

As I said, intellectually, I understand how great vacuums are and how they help keep our modern world clean. I just hate using one. The only crisis I had when I was facing an empty nest was that I was losing my free vacuumer.

So, a couple weeks ago, when it was our turn to clean the ward building, I found myself with a vacuum cleaner in my hand. I hope I showed the Lord that I loved him by having a glad heart about the whole thing.

I did a lot of pondering about service as I was going back and forth over about a half acre of carpet. Not only did I gain a fuller appreciation for ‘enduring to the end’, but I also posed a few other questions:

· What if I loved to vacuum? Would it still count as service?
· Why do I not mind vacuuming the church nearly as much as I do vacuuming my living room?
· Is there vacuuming beyond the veil? Or, is it like repentance: if you take care of it here, you won’t have to take care of it there?

Not profound stuff, but I was very much struck by the fact that I would do for the Lord what I begrudged doing for myself. I haven’t yet decided if that’s okay or not.

As I was putting the vacuum away, I smiled at the thought that, come January first, the other ward is in charge of cleaning the building, and I wouldn’t have to vacuum that half acre for another whole year. That happy thought was short lived, though, as they announced last Sunday that the other ward has outgrown this smaller building and will be meeting in the stake center from now on. We’re on our own, and my turn to vacuum will be rolling around again shortly.

Return to the Neighborhood


Monique said...

Oddly enough I have a similar story. I don't particularly dislike vacuuming but why vacuum when you can read or write! Not like toilets, now those I despise. Anyway back to the point, I once got the opportunity to clean the temple in Albuquerque and I learned so much! They handed me a vacuum and I got to spend two hours in droning white noise contemplation. I noticed things about the temple that I hadn't before. Usually when I go to the temple my mind is filled with other things like thinking about my ancestor who's work I'm doing or paying attention. In doing such a mundane job as vacuuming my mind was able to focus on the details, the beauty, the peace. It was actually quite profound. I discovered quite a few things about myself and how I approach life. How I do things for the Lord as opposed to for myself and my family. It was like 11pm before we got out of there but I could have stayed all night. It was a great experience. Never thought I would enjoy vacuuming that much.

Candace E. Salima said...

I hate cleaning all together. I do it every day, but literally hate every minute of it. I feel your pain!

And I try to have a glad heart when cleaning the chapel. Sadly, it seems whenever it's our return, the brethren in charge assume I'll happily clean the bathrooms because, well, I'm a woman. That's the room I hate to clean the most. Wow, the things we do for the Lord!