mother left her house] to me when she died and its legally mine,
but it will, in reality, always be my mothers house. My neighbors,
sweet as they may be, constantly remind me how Im not doing things
like my mother did and maybe Im doing that on purpose. I dont
know. Its not the house I grew up in, however, so there are no childhood
or even unpleasant memories associated with this house, other than she died
here. . . . She was an immaculate housekeeper and Im not. When Im
at home, Im either reading or writing, and keeping house and washing
dishes just isnt on my radar screen until its absolutely necessary.
Maybe thats a revenge factor on my part that I wasnt aware of.
I just figured it was because reading is a more important activity, for me,
anyway. Do you have any comments about this?
he issue about neatness and cleanliness
is really a profound issue of love. When you care
about a possession, you consequently want to keep it in good
Its the same for creation
itself. When we really, really understand that God created this world, we
are moved to take good care of it. Environmental abuseeven the act
of spitting on the ground or throwing a
cigarette butt on the sidewalkshows us
up as hypocrites if we claim with our lips to love God.
Furthermore, its the same for the
body. Anyone who really understands how the body is the
temple of the Holy Spirit would want to keep the
body well-groomed, modestly dressed, free from
addictions, properly nourished, and physically
Think of cleanliness and order,
therefore, as aspects of the holy, whereas clutter and filth are aspects of the
anti-holyóthat is, the demonic. Therefore, if you respect
your environment as an aspect of a holy life, you will be pained to see dirt and
disorder anywhere. But if you tolerate dirt and disorder, then something deep in
your unconscious is at work: anger.
Although your mother was a meticulous
housekeeper, she probably did her chores out of duty,
rather than for the sake of pure love; that is, if she had any love for God she
wouldnít have abused you, so we know she certainly wasnít living a holy life.
Despite what others thought of her, you know she was a hypocrite, and that angers
you. Thus your unconscious desire is to throw her cleanliness back in her face so
that you can get the satisfaction of showing her what a fraud she was. But sheís
dead. So into whose face can you throw the dirt now?
Well, although, the disorder in your
house is a manifestation of your anger at your mother, your allowing the dirt and
clutter to accumulate is an expression of anger at both yourself and God. Because
you have to live in it daily, the dirt signifies your hatred of yourself, and because
the dirt stains Godís creation, it also signifies your anger at God.
You hate yourself because you have
no other way to come to terms with the abuse you suffered. As a child you must have
tried desperately to find an explanation for your motherís behavior, but, because
abuse is always irrational and never makes conscious sense, you came to the same
conclusion that every other child comes to: Itís my fault. Iím bad. Thatís why
Iím treated so miserably. I deserve it. And so you hate yourself as punishment
for being bad.
You are also angry because no one ever
stopped your mother from abusing you. All your life you have been blaming God for
being absent. But what did God do to deserve your anger? Well, nothing. Absolutely
nothing. He has always been present and has done everything to demonstrate His love
for you. So why are you angry at God? Well, you are really transferring your anger
onto God from someone else. And who might that be? Well, itís your
father, the one who never stopped your mother from abusing
you. In fact, he was so absent from your life that you donít even mention him in
So you hate God, and you hate yourself,
and you hate your father, and you hate your mother. Distracting yourself by reading
and writing is just an intellectual way of ignoring the hatred
that is always right under your nose. Nothing will ever be resolved this way. Itís like
sweeping dirt under the carpet and saying to yourself that the room is clean.
If you have any love for your soul, allow
yourself to see the dirtóthe dirt of your hatredóand then, through prayer, fasting, and
forgivenessóand, ultimately, loveódo
anything it takes to clean up the mess.