"A CLEAN SWEEP"
A prolonged bout with childhood Rheumatic Fever left me with a damaged heart valve, so I grew up under the cautious eye of the family doctor. When I planned to be married, "Dr. Bob" warned me not to have more than one baby. "It's not having them that's hardest -- it's raising them," he told me.
Married when we were both 19, Bill and I had five children within nine years, totally ignoring Dr. Bob's advice. I loved having little ones, but I was never caught up with the endless daily chores of caring for them and keeping our home neat and clean.
One morning, while the school-age children were still at the breakfast table, a knock came at the door of our half-double home. When I opened the door, there stood a pleasant-looking woman with her arms full of cleaning tools, "Good Morning," she said in a brisk voice, "I'm Leah. I'm here to clean for you." I was dumbfounded, and questioned "Leah," but she assured me she was there to clean my house. "A friend" had sent her to clean for me, she said, but she would not add one bit of further information that would reveal the name of her employer.
"I'm yours till three o'clock," she stated emphatically, persuading me with her take-charge attitude. This was in the sixties, when we weren't as leary of strangers as now, but I still felt uneasy as I opened the door wider to let this bossy woman enter my home.
Leah said she had been sent by someone who wanted to be anonymous, and she was mine for the day! I gaped as she proceeded to bustle around picking up toys, papers and other objects, even those hiding under the furniture. With her determined manner, she dusted, scrubbed and cleaned everything in sight, while I watched, dumbfounded, but tickled pink inside as I tried to figure out who on earth cared enough to send this whirlwind-in-motion cleaning lady as a surprise gift for me!
I've never won a blue ribbon for fast work, and Leah was so efficient, she put me to shame. Besides that, I was embarrassed about the countless items she had to pick up in order to clean properly. She didn't miss a thing!
By 3 o'clock, curiosity was driving me crazy, but the close-mouthed cleaning lady would not even give me a hint that might reveal the name of my mysterious benefactor. I took a few minutes to sit at the kitchen table and pen a note of thanks from a heart overflowing with
gratefulness. I was overwhelmed not only for the terrific cleaning chore that was completed by the erstwhile Leah, but for the love that was lavished on me with no expectation of reward by the giver, my anonymous friend. Other than sending a note through Leah, I could only follow her instructions to "Thank God instead."
I've never forgotten the initial unbelief, and then the joy I felt from knowing someone cared enough about a young, harried mother to hire a cleaning lady for a day. That wonderful gift would provide me with a welcome rest and "a clean sweep," encouraging me to continue cheerfully with my assignment as the keeper of our home.