And yes, I can see the thin line of not-quite-clean against the baseboards. Every so often during a so-called "spring cleaning"--which doesn't happen every spring--I deal with those edges. But mostly I've replaced Mom's rule with my dad's: "If you can't see it from the highway . . ."
I remembered this kitchen floor epiphany yesterday while wielding a sponge mop over linoleum that hadn't seen said mop in a very long time. (Let's just say, Mom would have been horrified.) I thought about how easily and unconsciously we adopt the rules set forth by those we love.
Except when it comes to God. God's rules--love God, love others--are fewer and far simpler than my mother's "purity laws" yet so much more challenging. And maybe this is why religious orders spell it all out in a "rule of life" their members must follow--a detailed explication of what those two simple rules actually look like when lived out.
For my friends who wonder what a rule of life looks like, check out a bit of Benedict's rule. The length and scope of The Rule of Benedict suggest he was something of a micromanager. But he's not alone. The Order of Julian of Norwich features a rule of life, or customary, that spans 50+ pages. So much for simple. In many communities, those entering the order are ceremoniously presented with a copy of the order's Rule which now trumps any rules they've made for themselves.
The word order and the word ordained come from the same Latin root which relates to "arranging" or "putting in order." Some people think ordination implies specialness and heirarchy--and there is some hint of that in the word root which also has to do with "ranking." But more accurately, ordination marks one's entry into an Order of ministry. (In the Episcopal Church ordained ministers include bishops, priests, or deacons; all baptized lay persons are also considered ministers responsible for living out the baptismal covenant.) An ordained person is said to have entered an "ordered life."
Over the next few blog entries, I'll reflect on some of the rules of the diaconate--as revealed in the diaconal ordination vows--and I'll speculate on how they might "order" a life.
As for the kitchen floor, I'm rather favoring the robot.