Housekeeping the Soul

Every two weeks I have house cleaners come to our home. I began this about seven years ago and I would rather give up any other luxury than stop this one.


Because there is something cathartic and amazing about having a house that is ordered and clean – even if it’s only every two weeks! This couple is skilled at what they do – they move in with dust bins, heavy-duty vacuum cleaners, polishes and oils. Nothing is sacred or safe from their cleaning supplies. I love it. They come on a Monday and at the end of the day, I enter our home to the smell of clean. And I love the smell of clean.

Just as housekeeping uncovers dirt and dust fluffs that escape the naked eye, so does housekeeping the soul uncover those things that are otherwise covered with open piety. Behind the closet of my soul is an old grudge against someone from my past, a recent bitterness toward an event in my now, a deep wound that doesn’t seem to heal.

If dreams are housekeepers of the mind, perhaps tears are housekeepers of the soul, for tears are part of this housekeeping process.

Initially they flow out of self-absorption or self-pity, but as they flow a change occurs – the self-pity replaced by confession and cleansing.


A confession much like the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 51.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

As the tears flow in sorrow confessing sin, the housekeeping continues and they move on to be tears of glad gratitude that shout “Let me hear joy and gladness! Let the bones that you have broken, rejoice”.

The housekeeping cleanses and comforts the soul and I move forward knowing that the “sacrifice of a broken spirit and a contrite heart” will not be despised.

Blogger’s Note – As I’ve been ‘housekeeping’ my soul, I realize I need to take a short break from blogging. To this end, I’ll be reposting a few pieces from two years ago in the next week. Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to being back after this ‘housekeeping the soul’ break!

8 thoughts on “Housekeeping the Soul

  1. It must be the week for bloggers taking a break as you’re the second person I’ve read today who is just starting one! A bloggers Lenten fast!

    Late last year someone who I’ve had a lot rough times with and with whom we’ve kind of come to a kind of a peace and reconciliation without ever really properly talking things through… called me (in joking) a really offensive and inappropriate word in front of a lot of our friends. I knew it was a joke but still, because of our past history it took me aback and I was really hurt by it. As I drove home, I was praying and I felt like God showed me that every time this happens, it is as though there is a fracture that appears in our friendship, much like a fault line that opens up in an earthquake. As I prayed, I asked God to heal this particular fracture and I had the mental picture of him pouring oil or honey into the crack between her and I, filling it and healing it. I was amazed, by the end of the car journey I had complete peace and could let it go. It occured to me that our friendships suffer cracks that we don’t realize are there even. Some are tiny, others compound and make the ones already there much much worse. When we see a crack appear, the sooner we can ask God to heal it, the better.

    Perhaps the housekeeping for the soul also includes the mending of our broken cracks?


  2. I wonder if one helpful aspect of housekeeping the soul might be getting out into the fresh air and sunshine. We get day after day here in upstate NY of clouds, snow showers, and very little sun. When the sun does pop out for even a few minutes, I feel as if I need to run outside – well I don’t RUN anywhere these days, but at least to get outside before it disappears again. Perhaps living as we do in cities we don’t get enough time in God’s created world of trees and grass and sky and birdsong. May your cleansing tears turn to joy, great joy!


  3. This is such a wonderful analogy: confession as housekeeping for the soul. Thank you. I will stay mindful of this necessity in a whole new way. As a new reader of your blog, I will also appreciate the coming posts from the past. :)


  4. Marilyn,
    What a wonderful piece to read. For years, I used to employ someone to clean my house and I felt just like you. Nowadays, with all the budget cuts in education, housecleaning has become a luxury that I can no longer afford. At times I weep cleansing my soul. Thanks God this cleansing process is free of charge. Isn’t it amazing how God renders his comfort — all we have to do is BELIEF. Wishing you an enchanting and cleansing week. Petra


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