'Be anxious for nothing..." ~Philippians 4:6

Monday, October 11, 2010


Know when to resist the urge to clean up a mess that someone else had made and left behind...to stink and crust over...and spread and morph into a science project...and make it impossible to utilize a space. If you're a bit of a neat freak, it's hard to sit amongst mess and just shoot the breeze. The sights and smells around you won't allow you to relax. You know that with the right tools and a matter of minutes, a space can be transformed into a much more livable, comfortable one. So you decide to take matters into your own hands and clean up--and don't be surprised when others in the same space are content to let you. You have to know, going in, that no one will appreciate the effort since you were the only one bothered by the mess. Don't look for a pat on the back.
Be warned. No matter how good or thorough a job you do, instead of a "Thank You", you may get a reprimand or criticism for the methods you used to get the job done. How you choose to clean up another person's mess might get you in trouble if you don't do it the way they would have--if and when they ever got to it. By the time some people get to cleaning up the mess they've made, it requires industrial strength equipment and a professional.

If you can't stand mess, instead of taking initiative to eliminate it, sometimes it's best to remove yourself from the situation, and accept the fact that some people really don't mind mess at all. It's true. Some people don't even NOTICE the filth in their midst. They can live in, move around and pass through it as if it's not there. They only notice it when someone else complains, begins to tackle it--or it's no longer there. They notice when something is missing, thrown away, or suddenly back to it's original color. At no time does it occur to them to locate a broom, mop, or soap producing product themselves. You, on the other hand are hoping there's hot, running water, a gallon of Clorox, a can of original Lysol, and several rolls of Bounty somewhere on the premises.
I don't understand how people can be so callous and careless with what belongs to someone else. How do you enter a clean home and reduce it to a dump? I hate seeing people treating another person's home in a manner that would be highly unacceptable in their own. It's heartbreaking to walk into a space that was once well cared for, orderly and neat, and see it treated like a trash can and held in such little regard. "I'll get it later" is often the thoughtless reply of a selfish individual. Often, it translates, "I'm leaving my mess and I don't care how it impacts you. I don't care how you like things arranged. I don't care if you're expecting guests. I don't care about your peace of mind or well being. I don't care if you need to use this space, these appliances. If you don't like it, or can't wait until I decide to get to it--which could be tomorrow or never--close the door, go somewhere else, or clean it up yourself".

Is it true that a person's surroundings are an indicator of the state of their lives? Is a messy/filthy house the signal of a busy, active family/individual or a lazy, trifling one? What happens when everyone in a household decides to leave the maintenance of a home to others in the home and NO ONE is doing anything? The attitude that "someone" will do it, is fine if "someone" actually shows up and gets to work. People do get tired of cleaning up behind able-bodied others--but do they HAVE to? It's generally a contest. Who can stand to deal with mess for a longer period of time? The person with the least tolerance, gets the honor of cleaning every time.
"When you see something that needs to be done, do it" is an admirable adage to live by, but should be adopted with caution. Pick your battles-- and messes. Most of all, clean up your own. Maybe, just maybe, it might encourage someone to notice, care, and clean up theirs.

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