Let’s face it. Sometimes the bathroom stinks. Sometimes life stinks. It came to me while I was cleaning the toilet; a mundane task that allowed my mind to wander toward more pressing, serious matters. I got to thinking about the task of cleaning up one’s life. Not mine. Mine is sparkly-clean and smelling fresh! Ahem . . . Like bathrooms, most lives could use a little freshening up if we really get down there and put our noses to it.
There are different kinds of cleaning, and not all bathrooms need all of them at once. There is the clean-it-up-for-company kind of clean. Appearance is everything here. A quick wiping off of the surfaces, fresh towels, and a swipe on the mirror may do it. Light a candle if necessary. We all clean up pretty well when push comes to shove. A clean outfit, shampoo, a spritz of fragrance, and no one would guess there is anything hiding beneath the surface. In bathrooms as in life, smiling helps.
Then there is the kind of cleaning you do to get set up for the week. You scrub a little deeper. You bleach and scour the shower. You put a fresh bag in the trash, replenish the extra rolls of T.P., and scrub the floor. It’s what weekends are for — paying bills, running errands, putting the train back on its track. It sets you up for the week. It doesn’t take long, but a weekly catch-up makes all the difference.
In the course of its use, eventually every bathroom hits a point where it has fallen to ruins. Someone gets sick and the bathroom is clearly overused. When there is illness in your life, the washroom isn’t going to be fit for company. It’s a time to take a break from letting others in and just heal. When you are stronger, you can run over what needs to be cleaned first and leave the rest until you have more energy. It is not going to smell fresh, and the towels are going to be laden with germs. And that is exactly what it needs to be until you can restore your health.
Maybe you are just needed elsewhere. Sometimes it just isn’t all about your bathroom. Other people have bathrooms, too. It’s about helping to cook the community supper, or getting your kids to the doctor, or helping your neighbor clean up after a fire. You can let your bathroom go. If someone needs a clean washcloth, they know where to find them. If toilet paper runs out, let someone else buy it. Your bathroom is important, but you will appreciate having one a lot more if you occasionally help someone else with theirs.
Every now and then you need to take a look beneath the surface. The medicine cabinet is crammed with expired prescriptions that need to be thrown. There are so many near-empty conditioner bottles that you can’t find a place to set your soap. You need to get rid of the old things in your life before you can let new and improved items in. You may find things you had forgotten were there when you really start digging. Finding old treasures is as precious as the gift of new ones. When you find something you once valued, but no longer find a need, it might be time to let it go. Not always an easy thing to do, once you have all your favorite things lined up, it is easier to see what belongs and what no longer does. Traditions are like stale lotion in that way. Cherish them for what they once were, and let them go.
Sometimes things have gotten so bad that you will need to ask for help. You need to look for someone you trust. He knows his own bathroom is not at all as clean as it appears to guests, and will not judge you for yours. He realizes that someday his own space may get out of hand and he will need to ask you for help, too. And he is not likely to go blabbing about your dirty corners to anyone else.
I hope you have a friend in your life that you can let into your dirtiest bathroom. Someone who has seen your worst filth and will love you anyway.
Oh . . . And don’t forget to flush and wash your hands.
Peace . . .