mop bucketFunny, how dirty your kitchen floor suddenly looks when you’re getting ready to host the holidays, isn’t it? OK- funny?  Maybe not so much.  But, dirty? Absolutely.

I updated my ipod- (am loving the Third Day Christmas album) and broke out the yellow bristled, wooden scrub-brush used by generations of floor cleaning freaks before me.  I filled my mop bucket with the hottest water I could coax from the tap, added a cup (maybe more) of sudsy ammonia (to which I was repeatedly told-“It smells like lemons and pee in here” ) and a cup of Armstrong Floor Cleaner

I put on my very “me” rubber gloves.  And, set to work.  Let’s just say I’m not so sure about the floor- but my sinuses are quite cleared and I have inhaled enough ammonia to be under no risk of fainting for the foreseeable future…

“Slop.  Swish.  Scrub. Scrub. Scrub.  Wipe.  Scoot.  Repeat.”  For 2 hours.  I slowly made my way around the kitchen floor.  I was working to remove 8 years of mop-n-glow build up which had become one with both the flooring and the dirt.  As a side note- if you’re looking to create a permanent surface- and don’t mind if it’s ugly… I highly recommend the combination.  Seems to be impermeable….well-  to anything but dirt.

The first day- (yes, this has been a multi day process) I scrubbed away a layer or two.  But, half way through the kitchen I pooped out, and started scrubbing with less voracity. I finished with the mop. Minimal progress made.

The second day- I remembered reading somewhere- to let the chemicals do their thing— (i.e. let the cleaner set for a minute before starting to scrub) and made better progress.  I started at the opposite end of the kitchen-just in case I pooped out again….which, I did.

By the third day- my knees were bruised and my sinuses had been scorched.  But.  The floor.  Is (mostly) clean. The wax and dirt finish has been removed.  I’m getting ready to put on a few coats of new (dirt magnetically charged- I’m sure) wax.  My sides are aching, (from all the bending and swishing….n scrubbing) my sinuses are creating scar tissue and my knees will never be the same.  (I’m secretly hoping they will be better- and that the chemicals I’ve been kneeling in will have stunted the growth of hair on my very Italian legs)  I’m tired- and am considering moving the stove and fridge out one inch farther. ( To ummmm… cover the line of demarcation where the scrub-brush will and will not fit)

But- my heart is lighter.  Somewhere around day 2 of the great floor scrubbing challenge- I realized I haven’t spent this much time on my knees in way. too. long.  Not in the floor scrubbing sense.. (though admittedly a little more of that done would have improved this situation- earlier) But, in the altar of prayer sense.

My faith tradition does not have set times to kneel together, in prayer as part of a typical “service” .  We often pray standing up- or seated or some combination there-of.  Personally-I believe that prayer is ongoing communication with God- like breathing- it’s just part of what I do each day.  But- as far as specific- intent, time spent in prayer- lately- it’s been a little like my kitchen floor.  A frequent good mopping, but no real knee bending, deep scrubbing.

While I was scrubbing away- I realized I had an opportunity to spend some time- in focused meditative, prayer.   And so, I did. 

Good thing- too- as we’re entering the Holiday craziness…. (OK I may already be full on Christmas crazy- hence the floor restore;) I don’t want to get so caught up in the “stuff” of Christmas that I miss the heart of it. 

Dear Lord- I ask that you’d constantly remind me to pray…. whether I’m on my knees or in the shower- help me to listen to you as well as to talk… me to be focused on you and spreading your love..not on clean floors and perfect gift wrapping…I do love you Lord- amen