I have come to appreciate this verse so much more over the last few years of my life. Growing up, I was so messy. The concept of hanging up my clothes and filing important papers was as foreign a concept as deciphering hieroglyphics. But then I met Brandon. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, he is extremely neat. At first this really irritated me about him. Why the constant need to fold everything and put things back in their original boxes? Why the need to wipe our kitchen counters with anti-bacterial spray as soon as we were done eating? Then suddenly one day it happened to me. I was reading this book that I could not put down. I looked forward to coming home and reading my book all day while I was at work. I came home changed clothes and jumped in bed to read my novel. All of a sudden, I was bothered. I could not get comfortable, my mind was racing with to do’s and I have to’s. The pillows were all over the place, the sheets were all crumpled. My slippers were tossed next to the bed, and my glass of water from the previous night was on the nightstand table. I could not enjoy my book. I had waited all day to read it, and I could not concentrate. I gently put the book down and thought to myself “what is going on here, Roxanne, get a grip”. The more I tried to ignore the mess, the more it felt like it was crowding in on me. My room began to feel like the rabbit hole Alice fell through. Except this was no wonderland- far from it. It was just my messy room. Without giving it another thought, I got up and began to frantically clean. I changed my sheets, vacuumed, took my glass of water into the kitchen, dusted, put away my slippers, made the bed, and sprayed the sheets with lavender linen water. It didn’t end there. I walked in the bathroom, and arranged all my toiletries. Folded and put away the freshly dried towels and swept the floor. I cleaned the bathroom sink and toilet, and poured some disinfecting cleaner into the bowl. I was a whirlwind- a force to be reckoned with. Before I knew it, I had cleaned most of the house. I was exhausted. My feet throbbed. My hands ached. I felt as if I had been beaten like a piñata. I then decided to take a hot shower. I washed my hair and repeated, shaved, applied a face scrub and polished my skin. I scrubbed away with my loofah, applied intense conditioner to the ends of my hair and scrubbed the bottom of my feet with a pumice stone. I jumped out of the shower and put on my pj’s. This sense of accomplishment, and calm came over me. It felt so great to know that everything was in its proper place and that everything was clean. My room even looked a touch brighter. I just looked around for a minute and admired how clean everything looked. It wasn’t just about appearances either. My mind was at ease. I was once again able to relax and focus. That awful feeling of being consumed by my stuff disappeared. It was a joy to be in my room again. And it’s not just me. Brandon and I cleaned out our aquarium last Saturday night. We are supposed to clean out the tank about once every month, but this time, 6 weeks passed before we were able to. The fish started looking gloomy and lethargic. Their colors looked faded and the aquarium looked dull, not to mention dingy. After cleaning the tank, it typically gets worse before getting better because you stir everything around in there. This makes the water look cloudy. And since you’re only supposed to remove about a third of the water at a time, some of the debris still remains. But boy that water was yucky- we waited too long to clean it out. Because of this, we were very detailed and careful when cleaning the tank. The following day we walked up to the aquarium. We observed it for a bit. They were playfully swimming around. I know they’re just fish, but they looked happy. There was definitely a boost in their mood. The tank also looked so bright. The colors in there were so vibrant. It looked like a different fish community than that of the night before. I know some might say that it’s a stretch to say that the fish seemed happy, but if you would have seen this with your own eyes, you would have arrived to the same conclusion. These fish were affected by the cleanliness of their environment. Then that verse clicked my mind- Cleanliness is next to Godliness. This concept holds true in the physical sense as well as in the spiritual sense. If your conscience is compromised, or if there is something that you have done that is making you feel guilty- doesn’t it make you feel in some ways dirty or tainted? Doesn’t it feel good to come clean, or to make amends? To have a clean and sound mind is even more liberating than having an organized and sanitized home. And to have both is especially gratifying.