If you ever come to visit us, and use our bathroom, you’ll notice that we have two different soap dispensers next to the sink. One contains Dr. Bronner’s lavender liquid soap, and the other, antibacterial Softsoap. A little strange to have two, but those soap dispensers actually represent a big victory for me spiritually.
After I got married, one of the many things I was very excited about was having my own house and keeping it the way I wanted to. Between living in my parents’ house and regularly cleaning for several different families, to working as a mother’s helper in two different places and living with my in-laws for awhile before getting married, I’d experienced my share of different households. And in all of those, I saw things I liked and things I didn’t like. And I came away with very decided opinions (and much anticipation) as to how I was going to run my own household.
One of the big things I wanted was to go all-natural in regard to cleaners, soaps, etc. I was able to accomplish that pretty easily with cleaners and with hand soap, we started out just using Dr. Bronner’s lavender liquid soap and I thought it was great. However, my husband didn’t like it, and asked if I would mind if we got some antibacterial Softsoap. Of course, I said that would be fine, but inwardly a battle raged. Softsoap?! Tops on the list of Triclosan criminals that to me epitomized the conventional way of cleaning I wanted so badly to get away from. (Triclosan is the substance in antibacterial soaps, lotions, etc. that that kills germs and is not very good for you.) I felt like it would contaminate my perfect little “all-natural” home.
But then I realized — I was being ridiculous. I mean, it’s soap!! Yes, Triclosan isn’t a good thing to have much contact with, but the same goes for many other things that we deal with every day. Having antibacterial hand soap in our bathroom would not kill anyone, that’s for sure. And yes, it supposedly “messes up” my perfect little all-natural-ness, but that’s a good thing. Going green was obviously becoming an idol to me and so it actually needed to be messed up. My pride over being so natural could end up hurting myself and my family much more than any amount of chemicals ever would.
So I calmed down and let go of it. We compromised and he let me keep the dispenser of Dr. Bronner’s at the sink too. And every single time I fill our Mason jar dispenser with that antibacterial soap, or when I put another double package of it next to the quinoa in our Costco cart, I’m reminded again not to let my crunchiness become an idol or a source of pride. While it’s good a thing to strive to care for my family in a natural way, idolatry and pride are much nastier “chemicals” by far.