Summer’s here! You know what that means? Ice cream, baseball games, trips to the beach and…cleaning.
Okay, maybe that last one’s not on your summer list, but as a missionary, it’s definitely been on mine.
I am serving at a Life Teen Camp in Arizona, Camp Tepeyac. Campers don’t actually come until July, so the first month and a half or so or my summer has been focused on getting the physical dimension of the camp clean and ready. Some of our work projects have been pretty cool, but they have mostly been everyday projects like washing windows and weeding.
At first, getting started on these projects was a challenge. It was hard to see my progress and my efforts could easily go unnoticed and unappreciated. Eventually weeds grow back and windows get dirty again and in the meantime, not everyone will notice that the particular bit of dust was off the window or that little plant was no longer growing by that building.
And the more I cleaned, the more I noticed other areas of camp that needed weeding or washing. I had never payed attention to the weeds growing on our paths or the dirt on other windows, but now that I had spent a whole day just weeding or window-washing, I couldn’t rest until the other parts of camp were clean and weeded too.
After reflecting on my work the last couple weeks, I have realized this type of cleaning is a lot like my own spiritual life.
When I realize my prayer life is slacking or that I am getting short with one of my friends or family members. I need to clean up that area of my life. So I start making more of an effort to be on time to prayer, to actually focus on praying instead of letting my thoughts wander, to be extra kind with the person who is annoying me.
But just like my window washing and weeding, all my efforts have made a difference. The camp does look better even in those small ways. And so does my spiritual life. I may not avoid ever being distracted in prayer again or from ever being rude again, but for now, for the time being, I am loving better.
My effort is making a difference to the person who will look through those windows, or walk on that weed-free path and for the person I’m trying to love. In all of this, God is blessing my efforts and loving me through the process. He is helping me become a saint through these small things.
So my question for you is this:
What are the small things you need to work on in your own life? The areas that need summer cleaning?
Ask for the grace to work on them these next couple months. Then soon enough, not only will Camp Tepeyac be clean, but our hearts, yours and mine, will be cleaner, and we will be saints in the making.