It's springtime in Virginia, which means you can open the windows and enjoy the sounds of
spring - chirping birds, laughing children, growling lawn mowers, and pulsing power washers.
One harbinger of spring is this daylily, which the deer somehow forgot to eat.
I bought my husband Fluffy a power washer a few years ago as a Christmas present. It sits in the
basement for all of the winter, but then comes out each spring to try and reverse the effects of the
elements on our house and property. It is good for getting rid of ground-in dirt, as well as the
green algae that tends to grow on the shady side of the house.
This spring as Fluffy was removing the algae, he noticed that the sidewalk running along that
side of the house had also accumulated quite a bit of grime. In fact, it was black in color rather
than the typical brownish-white we associate with sidewalks. So he trained his trusty power
washer on the sidewalk, and has been working on that for the past several Saturdays. It is
amazing to see the difference between the freshly washed sidewalk and the unwashed portion.
What a contrast!
All it takes is some water and Fluffy's elbow grease to make an old sidewalk clean again.
This got me thinking about how power washing relates to my life (you know that a good hack
writer can associate any trivial event with something profound!). Sometimes sin and bad habits
accumulate on our souls so gradually that we do not fully realize how soiled we have become.
Sometimes we don't realize this until we look at others, or perhaps we look back at ourselves at
an earlier (and happier) time in our lives. When we finally realize our fallen state, we realize that
it might be time for some spiritual power washing.
Fortunately, our spiritual power washer comes in the form of repentance, and there is very little
that it will not remove. This does not mean that effort is not involved. Some of the darkest stains
may require a lot of time and a lot of work, but renewing us to our former state can be done. As
Isaiah reminded us:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as
wool." (Isaiah 1:18).
Another interesting parallel to me is that power washers do all of their work using just
compressed water (there is an attachment that allows the use of soap, but Fluffy has never found
the need to use that). Similarly, the water of baptism is all this is required to obtain the gift of
repentance and other spiritual gifts.
It is not complicated. It does not have to be purchased for a small fortune. You do not have to
have an advanced degree to understand how it works. It just requires faith, humility, patience,
and a determination to do our best every day.
So I am happy that spring has arrived here in Virginia. It reminds me that the best gifts in life are
available to everyone, and that the price is affordable to all.
Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than
most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the
possiblity that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at
A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham
Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight
because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she
wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She
was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.
Kathy married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five
years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A
Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.
A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy still moderates a weekly column
("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored
Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which
would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name
and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.
Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she writes a blog entry every
weekday. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically
allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.
Kathy teaches the Young Women in her ward. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.