Michelle Martin

Spring cleaning

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When I was a child, my mother was a big believer in spring cleaning.

It wasn’t like the house was ever really a mess; there was a weekly round of dusting, vacuuming, wiping up the bedroom floors, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.

But spring cleaning, which usually happened during our spring break, meant washing the walls, taking all the books from the bookcases and shaking the dust out of them, sweeping any cobwebs out of the corners of the ceiling, emptying and cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. Sort of like what our Jewish friends do in preparation for Passover, another spring ritual.

Me, well, I managed to get the outdoor Christmas lights down before St. Patrick’s Day. Barely.

But we have been cleaning out lately, discarding toddler toys that no one has played with for years, donating clothing that no one will wear again. Soon it will be time to clean out the yard, getting rid of the detritus that has accumulated over the winter and preparing the flowerbeds for spring and summer. This year the door to the garage is going to need a new coat of paint, too. The rain and ice and snow took their toll.

Even without any of that done, the spring bulbs have already sent their shoots up. The crocuses and daffodils are poking through the soil; the tulip leaves are just starting to unfurl.

That’s the thing about time. It moves on, whether we are ready or not, whether we like it or not. Spring is the season of renewal; Easter is about rebirth, about new life in Jesus. Lent is the season to prepare for it, to spring clean our hearts and souls, to make ourselves ready for the new life to come.

But Easter will come, no matter whether we have had a productive Lent or not.

Easter itself is late this year, falling toward the end of April. That almost feels like a reprieve, giving us more time to prepare. More time to pray and fast and give alms, and yes, more time to get the Christmas decorations down and find the Easter baskets in the basement.

It’s best not to delay, though. Jesus told the apostles that no one knows the day or the hour when he will return. Even dates that are clearly marked on the calendar, scheduled years in advance, have a way of sneaking up and taking us by surprise.

Frank is graduating from high school this year? How did that happen? Teresa is 9 years old. How is that we still have a tricycle in our garage?

We still have four weeks until Easter. I, for one, plan to spend some time spring cleaning.


  • family life