Vacuuming.

I was up early this morning. Groggy, wiping sleep from my eyes, I stumbled down stairs at dawn– the light barely showing in the east. Why, you ask, was I up before the garbage man?
To go for an early run?
To meditate?
To savor the pristine beauty of the quiet morning?
To get an early start on cleaning my house and being a perfect wife and mother?
Shyah- right.
No. I was up at 5 a.m. to shop. After throwing in a load of laundry, I immediately went on line and started perusing J.Jill for dresses and sandals.
Do I have money for new clothes? No.
Do I need any clothes? Absolutely not. I have a closet bursting full.
So why? Why was this tired, worn out, busy mom up at sunrise to Internet shop?
Yes, I have a wedding to go to. Yes, my sandals are are wearing out.
But really? Miss the beauty and quiet of the morning to stare at a computer screen and shop for things I don’t need and can’t afford?
What’s the point?
As I came to my senses (around 6:03) and realized I was still really tired, I went and laid down on the couch. All I could think about was what I ‘d been doing: wasting time, energy, and sleep on a frivolous, meaningless, purposeless activity. As I tried to get comfortable and perhaps fall back to sleep, a quote from Blaise Pascal kept going through my mind: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing.
It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”

Obsessive eating, shopping, exercising, planning, cleaning, cooking, working, playing all points to, what I believe, is the truth of this quote: namely that we’re searching. Vacuums suck up everything in their paths until they are filled. All the gods in the world can’t fill the vacuum that’s God shaped. No person, passion, experience, religion, learning…nothing can fill it except God himself. So we all keep sucking everything up but are still left with the void. Even those who profess Christ (like myself) fall quickly and easily into looking to everything but God for the source of Life. Why? I think because it’s easier to look for meaning in what we know and can understand and is tangible than to work on a relationship with a Being we can only begin to comprehend.
I’m an extremely relational person, and yet, there I times I want to avoid every contact and be a hermit. Why? Because relationships are messy…we get hurt…we have misunderstandings… we set up unrealistic expectations…we look to others to be more than they’re meant to be….
So why wouldn’t all that “messy” apply to our relationship with God? Because He’s perfect? All the more reason on our end for it to be messy and complicated. Our relationship with God is messy because we’re messy, imperfect, searching, vacuuming people…and He created us that way. He could have created little perfect mini-me’s or automatons. But He didn’t. He created us, and all our earthy-ness and set Eternity in our hearts so we’d seek for Him.
May my vacuuming not be in vain today, God.

*Photo by Robert Donsker Photography, “Prairie Sunrise”
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2 thoughts on “Vacuuming.

  1. Hi Patty,
    Stopping in to say hello. I have been enjoying your posts. Very much. I know what you mean by filling the vacuum. I love what I read in a book by Brother Lawrence, “Practicing the Presence of God”. My paraphrase is to practice awareness of God in any ordinary activity. I loved that and it has stuck with me all these years. I can't compartmentalize God because He can't be boxed in. He's in every aspect. Even wasting an hour looking for clothes on the internet. Been there, looking for that “perfect” item. That didn't exist at that time. Praying you find what you need! Love, Annie

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