Friday night date nights are a great way to Gain the Red Edge.
Such was the case last Friday, a Friday the 13th to boot! My lucky day since I was a kiddo.
Elisa and I joined some neighbors and friends for an exciting Friday night date cleaning our local church.
Yep. Cleaning the church.
Once a year most families in our congregation get the opportunity to participate in cleaning the church. This week it was our turn.
We joined up on Friday the 13th with our neighbors comprising, ironically, Team 13: Justin and Mary Stocking, Terrell and Pam Clements, Jason and Amy Harris and a couple of their boys, and Brandon and Amanda McBride who got out before I showed up with the camera.
We could have fulfilled our assignment on Saturday morning, which is when we’ve done it in the past. But Friday night worked out best for everyone to get together.
We could say it’s all Justin’s fault as he was the organizer. But the reality is, we all were willing to do what we had to do to get it done. If that meant Friday night, then Friday night it was.
Some things are collectively bigger than we are as individuals, such as serving our community. Whether those communities be family, neighborhood, city, business, or in this case, our church congregation.
My favorite thing to do is to sweep and mop the gymnasium floor, or the Cultural Hall as it’s most commonly referred to. I love the routine of swinging a mop back and forth in a steady pattern, erasing footprints and the residue of spilled drinks, bringing a clean shine to the floor.
I love the routine of swinging a mop back and forth in a steady pattern, erasing footprints and the residue of spilled drinks, bringing a clean shine to the floor.
Part of the time I worked side by side with Justin, quietly mopping together, occasionally sharing a thought or two.
The highlight of the evening is when one of Jason and Amy’s sons joined Justin and me mopping. I showed him how to hold the mop and swing it back and forth in a pattern. He mopped for a bit till it was time for mom and dad to take him home.
The moment took me back to cleaning the church with my dad. He and my mom were the custodians for a few years of the church we grew up in, though they were called janitors at the time.
I’d go to the church nearly every day after school and help clean. Dad taught me how to work systematically, moving efficiently and effectively through a task and onto the next. He never really said anything to that effect, he just did it and I followed.
Amazing how learning by example works.
I learned how to mop large spaces, swinging the mop back and forth in a rhymic pattern to make sure I didn’t miss any spot.
Cleaning the bathrooms was not pleasant but soon became routine.
Blackboards were erased in a parallel up and down pattern so they looked ready for use come Sunday.
Cleaning the chapel required careful attention vacuuming between the benches so I didn’t bump and mar the old wood.
Dad taught me as a young kid how to handle a floor buffer to really shine up those old green tile floors. Years later when I hit Army basic training, I was the only private who knew how to use the machine without it running away.
There’s a knack to learning how to use a buffer and it takes practice learning to control the rotation of the spinning pad. The trick is slightly lifting the handle to move the machine to the right, and slightly pressing the handle down to move to the left.
The entire church was sacred space to my dad, even though he wasn’t much of churchgoer at the time. Dad often spent his Friday nights at Rod’s Roost, the bar just a couple of blocks from the church.
But that didn’t change the fact the church building was a sacred space to him. We were never to run in the halls, speak loud, or act out. We cleaned better than we did at home because it was the church.
Sure, I explored every nook and cranny of that beautiful building. I knew well the darkness of the boiler room where I shoveled plenty of loads of coal and cleaned out the clinkers. I discovered the hidden staircase that took me into the ceiling above the chapel and up into the steeple.
Dad eventually found his way back to that church. He found comfort in the pews, fellowship with saints, and solace in the Word.
Just don’t say anything to dad, though he’s up in Heaven now; I never told him about my steeple exploring adventures!
CHALLENGE: How will use your next date night to Gain the Red Edge?
Welcome to Gain The Red Edge, an exciting series highlighting best practices to inspire ideas, open up doors of opportunity and windows of creativity, and help you find clarity and focus for your personal and professional passions.