Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Advantages of Cleaning One's Room



I cleaned my room yesterday!

Okay, I know that's not the most interesting thing to write about. But this is serious room-cleaning we're talking about here: completely rearranging the furniture, vacuuming the floor, repositioning books on bookshelves and accessories in drawers, and so on. This took six hours. Well, that's including YouTube/snack breaks and guitar breaks.

Yes, I snack while watching YouTube…for the sake of efficiency, of course. It goes rather like this:



At least that's what it would look like if I had someone with me to toss me food. So all in all I probably only spent four hours on my room. But still, that's a pretty big milestone for me, since cleaning my room is only an annual thing at best, and usually I leave the furniture where it is and just work until I can see the floor.

Why am I telling you about this? Well,

1) It's my blog, so I can write about pretty much anything I want.
2) It reminds me of one of my favorite essays by G.K. Chesterton.

Before I talk about the essay, I should preface with the fact that I'm a huge fan of G.K. Chesterton. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Chesterton was a ridiculously prolific English author in the late 1800s and early 1900s who wrote everything from fantasy to detective stories to newspaper articles to apologetics. He's known for his paradoxical statements, wordy writing style, and frequent tangents.

Anyway, he has this one essay called "The Advantages of Having One Leg." It's actually from a collection called Tremendous Trifles, which is where I got the name for this site.

The essay is public domain by now, so feel free to look it up if you're up for a difficult read with some bits in it that I can only assume are 19th century pop culture references. It's good, though. If you like it you'll probably like the rest of GKC's writings, too.

His main point seems to be that temporarily hurting one leg made him appreciate his legs more. It's like when I get a cold and I realize how nice it is to be able to breathe through my nose. Ok, that was kind of a gross example, but you get the picture.

He moves on from the isolation of one leg to the isolation of things or ideas in general:

"To appreciate anything we must always isolate it…if we wish to see what a house is it must be a house in some uninhabited landscape. If we wish to depict what a man really is we must depict a man alone in a desert or on a dark sea sand."

And his conclusion:
"All surrender of life, all denial of pleasure, all darkness, all austerity, all desolation has for its real aim this separation of something so that it may be poignantly and perfectly enjoyed. I feel grateful for the slight sprain which has introduced this mysterious and fascinating division between one of my feet and the other. The way to love anything is to realize how very much otherwise it might have been."
What does this have to do with cleaning my room, you ask? And why must this post be so long?

Well, when it comes to GKC I tend to ramble. Sorry about that. As for cleaning my room, moving my furniture and wall decorations around and seeing my familiar things in an unfamiliar order made me realize how amazing my room actually is. I just needed to look at my stuff from a different perspective.

For example, I was getting really bored of my Van Gogh print because it was on the same wall for ages, and today when I saw the last rays of sunlight shining on it (since I had moved it to the wall by the window) I realized (or re-realized) how gorgeous the painting is:


Isn't this awesome? I have a thing for Van Gogh. Probably because of that one really sad Doctor Who episode, but still.

To conclude, Chesterton writes,
"This world and all our powers in it are far more awful and beautiful than we ever know until some accident reminds us. If you wish to perceive that limitless felicity, limit yourself if only for a moment. If you wish to realize how fearfully and wonderfully God's image is made, stand on one leg. If you want to realize the splendid vision of all visible things-- wink the other eye."
And if you wish to like your Van Gogh thrift shop find, clean your room. Apparently that's how it works.







7 comments:

  1. Lol I was instantly captivated with the title! Hey, I enjoy cleaning my room! I just wish I looked as attractive as Cinderella while doing it, lol, jk. I love that painting! That last Chesterton quote was beautiful. Or maybe I was just thinking of apriciating a certain.... u guess, lol! Anyways great blog today!

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    1. Aww, thanks! I would say you should get some mice to help you, but I guess you don't need help, given your expert sweeping skills. ;)

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  2. Ouch! Burn! Hey in my defense u really were not doing it right. Anyone reading this who doesn't know what going on, she sweeps like an amature. She missed everything and wouldn't make a pile.

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  3. Thanks, man. You always have my back.

    This is turning ugly, lol. For the record I was sincerely complimenting you on your sweeping skills. ;D

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  4. Lol ok, thanks *suspicious eyes linger*

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  5. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. �� Stucko

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