My late father-in-law, like his father before him, always had the cleanest windows out of anyone I had ever met, other than my husband’s Uncle and Aunt (whom I consider MY Uncle and Aunt as well). They have always had a real knack for sparkling clean windows. I, on the other hand, have ALWAYS had streaks in my windows. They area and were always mostly clean, not sparkling, but they always had and will always have streaks. I read extensively about the subject to see what goes wrong, and my late father-in-law even tried to show me how it’s done as well. Streaks remain.
Today I am washing my windows, which is one of my least favorite chores, as the weather here in Florida has turned ever so slightly cooler. I have decided to break the daunting task into smaller chunks, washing only the windows on one side of the house, the south side, today. Tomorrow I will do another side of the house, which will leave me plenty of time to enjoy the day with the beauty that unfolds with it. Armed with a spot of Dawn detergent with my cleaning solution, which is the trick of the professionals I am told, I set out to clean. As I worked, I was reminded of a passage in a book I read recently that described how we “visit” the deceased by doing the things that remind us of them.
“We will meet the ones we can no longer touch when we put ourselves in situations where their souls once flourished. Our loved ones live where they have always lived, and it is there that we will find them…………Simply put, we find our deceased loved ones by entering into life in the way… that was most distinctive to them….If your mother had a gift for hospitality, you will meet her when you are hospitable; if your friend had a passion for justice, you will meet him when you give yourself over to the quest for justice; if your aunt had a great zest for life, for meals with her family, and for laughter in the house, you will meet her when you have a zest for life, eat with your family, and have laughter in your house.”
-from “The Holy Longing” by Ronald Rolheiser
Certainly my father-in-law is alive in my heart, and I feel like I am “meeting” him while I work. I see his smile, the Irish glimmer in his eye, his endless energy, and his larger-than-life gestures. I am also reminded of my own dear deceased father, who told me to “quit (MY) bellyachin” and that I would be finished already if I spent half the energy on the task than I did “bellyachin’ ” whenever I set out to do a chore I didn’t care to do. I saw his wry smile and sparkle in his eyes when he told me this, and certainly I “meet” him today in my heart as well. I meet my father again today when I laugh to myself, reminiscent of the laughter he and I always shared when he pointed out the “holidays” (or spots I missed when painting), while I see the “holidays” on my “clean” windows today. I honor both my father and father-in-law by participating in a day of honest work through my own hands, something both families value.
My windows may not be free of streaks, nor will they ever be, but the task was a little easier today surrounded by the love in my heart of those that had gone before me. Maybe Snow White’s friends, the Seven Dwarves, had it right. They understood the importance of” whistling while you work.”
“Just whistle while you work
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune
It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace
And as you sweep the room
Imagine that the broom
Is someone that you love and soon you’ll find you’re dancing to the tune
When hearts are high the time will fly so whistle while you work….”
-from the song “Whistle While You Work” by Frank Churchill and Larry Morey
So clean those windows or do that chore you’ve been putting off, armed with a song in your heart, and “quit your bellyachin'”. Streaks are okay. I am of the opinion that leaving the windows, like the world, better than I found it is quite okay.
Life is good; carpe diem, friends………….