Ah, the humble bathroom. Restroom. Loo. Porcelain throne. My husband’s particular favorite, “The last bastion of freedom!” We have many names for the place where we take care of, shall we say, necessities. Or, if you’re a parent of littles and are no longer put off by potty talk, it’s the place where you go potty and poop and everybody does it so please, please, just go on the toilet!
Yes, no conversation about cleaning our homes, the ones we live in or our spiritual ones, would be complete without a trip to the place where we clean ourselves. In our physical bathroom, we are cleaned both internally and externally. We shower, shave, put on lotion or beauty products. We do our hair, clean our nails, brush our teeth. There is quite a lot happening in this room, ironically usually one of the smallest in our homes.
Though the smallest, this little room is one that we cannot live without. A quick story. We had just (and I mean less than 48 hours just, no furniture or household goods just) moved into our home in Kansas. One of the toilets was clogged and no amount of plunging was fixing it. We had to call a plumber who regretted to inform us that the sewer line had literally disintegrated between the toilet and the clean out in the back yard. Oh by the way, it was buried under a concrete floor that would need to be cut, the pipe completely replaced, and new concrete poured. Every time we flushed we made it worse. We had to leave. Immediately.
As the story illustrates, we cannot live in safety and good hygiene without good plumbing. Maintaining a clean bathroom may sound obvious, but it is worth saying. Depending on the layout of your bathrooms, they can become places of hidden clutter. Drawers and cabinets that have all manner of hair ties, half used bottles of soap, old wash cloths of questionable cleanliness, and who knows what else. We will come back to this idea when we talk about our spiritual restrooms.
When it comes to spring cleaning your bathroom this week, don’t gloss over those places you know work is lurking. Perhaps empty one drawer each day and sort the contents. If you haven’t used the item in the last year, it’s probably time to let it go. You can enlist your family members to help you as well. Maybe it’s time for some bathroom reorganization. We have found this true as our children have started to grow and mature. They need their own space just as much as Ben and I. This week is also an excellent time to pull out the bleach and really give your bathrooms a deep clean. Put on some good music and get it done well!
Have you ever thought about a spiritual bathroom? Probably not. But believe it or not, even the bathroom can have spiritual significance. All of us is a sinner. Plain and simple. We are in need of saving, we are in need of healing, we are in need of cleansing. God knew this which is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to come and save us. While our salvation was won once and for all by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we still need to turn back towards God when we break away from Him and follow our sinful inclinations. We all fall short and are in need of continual cleansing. Enter the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is such a powerful sacrament that most neglect to take full advantage of. Jesus is waiting to restore us into right relationship with Himself, to cleanse us of our sins and make us clean and pure once again. The word “cleanse” is even in the words of Absolution the priest says over us after we have confessed our sins.
This week, go to Confession. Make it a priority in your schedule. Most parishes have regular confession times on Saturdays and before daily Masses. If none of the times at your parish genuinely will not work for your already established schedule, call the parish office. Your priest will make time for you in his schedule whenever you are able to get to him. It’s in their job description, they are in the business of bringing people closer to God. If you are feeling uncomfortable about confessing to your familiar priest, go one town over. But go. This week. Today, even, if you need to rip the bandaid off.
Here are a few tools for making a good confession:
Next week, we lean into rest. These have been a busy 4 weeks and it’s time to remember that we are made for both work and play. For active participation and for restful reflection.