Today would have been my mum's 83rd birthday had she not passed away this summer. This coming Wednesday will mark the 6 month anniversary of her death. All this combined with Christmas and the ongoing grieving of my dad's death means I have a lot of emotions flopping around.
I wanted to do something to honor mum's birthday today, so I took up my mop.
I hate cleaning, I hate cleaning with a searing white hot passion. I can push the vacuum cleaner around, and I will happily clean up the kitchen so I can bake, but there is something about the combination of buckets of water, bleach and a mop that sends shudders through my spine.
So today, I 'swiffered' my floors, then I mopped them and finally I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed each tile.
And with each wipe I remembered Mum.
I didn't remember her because she loved cleaning. I don't think there are many people in this world who would list 'Cleaning' as a hobby. I did it because of a lesson Mum taught me through the way she lived.
The energy used complaining about and avoiding a task is usually far more than the energy expended completing the task.
As a child I could quite happily waste hours complaining about being asked to tidy my room. I would rail about the injustice about how if it was my space I should be able to keep it just how I liked. Invariably the actual task of tidying would take far less time to do than I anticipated. It frequently surprises me how quickly I tidy up when I finally set my mind to it.
Mum didn't like to clean - but she kept a clean house.
Mum didn't like to cook - but she did, nearly every day.
Mum did what she had to do without visible moaning or complaint. She did the tasks quickly and efficiently so she could get back to her love - her garden.
And so, today, I stopped complaining and picked up my bleach. I stopped avoiding and started scrubbing. Now on my Mother's 'Scale of Clean' I'm sure the Bathroom Floor only moved from 'Unfit for Human Habitation' to 'In Need of A Really Good Scrub'. I can live with that. It's the Attitude behind the Action that is important here.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said "Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."
So to honor Mum's memory I mopped the floor- and by doing so I scattered some flowers in the garden she loved.