Pre-Spring Cleaning
© Betty Sue Eaton
Although Spring is still a couple of months away, it's never too soon to air out, rearrange, clean
up and out!  You began a new year a week ago and with it, I hope you vowed to make a new
beginning.  Now, why not go a little further and clean up your spiritual house as well!

If you have recently lost a loved one and have been going through the very difficult work of
grieving that loss; maybe it's time to set some new goals, some positive goals for the rest of
your life.  Never would I discount the breaking of your heart and the missing of your loved one,
but I will tell you this: God gave us only a limited time on this earth to fulfill His purpose for our
lives here.  Maybe now is the time to refocus on that purpose and try to get on with it.

I have found there are several ways to take back control of your life in the face of tragedy. One
such way is to engage in physical labor, hard work! When you're doing something that
requires muscle, there is little time to linger over heartbreak and pain.  So here are some of the
ways to get into it.

Your house has been closed up for the Winter, and if it is like mine, it's more than a little stale.
It could use an airing out.  Why not get out the window cleaner and make those eyes onto the
rest of the world sparkle!  They not only let others view your home with appreciation, they
allow you to look out on the rest of the sparkling world! When I'm feeling less than sparkling
myself, I have found it really brightens up my spirit to see the sunshine God has sent my way
throughout the day.

Perhaps the woodwork in your home has been showing the ravages of being neglected
because of your grief.  I can understand the general malaise one endures when deep in the
work of getting used to a death in the family.  So get out the mop bucket, scrub brush, soap
and sponge and roll up your sleeves, then apply some good old-fashioned elbow grease to
those baseboards, door frames and cabinet fronts!  Not only will you have worked hard on
your house, you have worked hard on mending your spirit.  And it will show like a bright freshly
scrubbed face of a youngster who has needed it for too long!

And speaking of youngster, another way to mend your heart is to take your child - or if you
haven't one, borrow a relative's or a friend's.  Take that child to a playground and play.  I mean
literally PLAY! Get in that swing, climb that Jungle Jim, hand walk those parallel bars, make
yourself tired from having some FUN!  Listen to that child laugh and call out to you to follow
him. Then on your way back home, detour by the ice cream shop and both of you have your
favorite treat!  Not only will you have lifted your own spirits, you have given a child a
remarkable day or afternoon out to be just a kid and having a great time!

A friend of mine who lost her husband very unexpectedly chose for her work going out into the
pine forest and photographing scenic views as she and Jim had done so very many times.
During that outing, she imagined him along with her, talking with him, asking him for his 'take'
on a certain aspect and thoroughly enjoyed the day alone with her now deceased husband.
She said it was some of the hardest work that she had ever done, but she felt refreshed that
evening at home.  Plus an added benefit, she took some great shots and now cherishes them.
To take that premise even further, take those photographs to a nursing home and share them
with shut-ins who can't go beyond the front doors of their homes. The appreciation you will see
in their eyes can do nothing but brighten your own.

These are only a few of the ways you can Spring-clean your spirit after a long cold winter of
grieving and will be worth much more than they have cost you to read them here. In turn, you
can pass along the experience you have gained for new insights to moving past your grief and
beginning to think in terms of 'the future' instead of looking back at a very painful recent past.

If you ask God to guide you through these labors, He will, and you might be surprised if you
listen very closely, He might show you even more ways to move closer to Him and His purpose
for you. He will bless you and comfort you in your journey through one of His dark paths in this
mortal life as He waits for you to come Home also, even as your loved one has.


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