Decades of housekeeping have taught me to believe that spring cleaning comes in two flavors. There’s cleaning to keep things exactly the same, and then there’s cleaning to make space for growth, for something entirely new.
Now I keep my mom’s house. A champion homemaker who values order, she’s part of the cleaning-to-fend-off-change camp. I love Franciscan contemplative Richard Rohr’s phrase for the eternal pattern of change and transformation: “Order, Disorder, Reorder.” Could there be a better description of spring cleaning?
Rohr says that for change and transformation to happen, we must move from Order through “a period—or even many periods—of Disorder.” Often that means loss and disappointment.
The Disorder stage is all about letting go of control. Then we can open ourselves to Reorder, where we radically “let go and let God.” Which is why the template for “Order, Disorder, Reorder” is Jesus, who surrendered to God’s will, was crucified, and was resurrected. Order, Disorder, Reorder. Life, Death, Resurrection. We enact this pattern again and again as we live our lives and clean our living spaces.
This message is an excerpt from “Spring cleaning” by Anne E. Basye in the April 2021 issue of Gather.
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