Yesterday, I thought about starting a blog or an Instagram feed dedicated to the fascinating piles of dirt I gather everyday in my kitchen. So I did.
Monday's morning dirt, 8:15 a.m.
-512 pieces of dried egg from my 9-month-old's high chair (did he even eat anything?)
-23 blonde hairs from my daughter’s forced hair brushing session.
-A billion bread crumbs from the unending toast I make. (It never fails that once I start putting the jam and peanut butter away, some yells out in panic: “What are you d-d-d-oing? I need toast too!”Out it all comes again.)
Monday's afternoon dirt, 1:45 p.m.
-Four army men lay splayed in defeat.
-A few death-trap Legos (how come the tiny ones are the only ones that fall to the floor?)
-Three unidentifiable food objects (you know, my code for UFO's)
-A handful of dried rice.
-A clump of my hair.
-A single pink rhinestone.
Monday's afternoon dirt (Part 2), 1:47 p.m. (Two minutes later...)
-An accidental drop of an entire pound bag of M&M's by the hands of one sneaky son.
-Oh, and there's one random Barbie shoe.
Part 2's pile of "dirt" incurred weeping and gnashing of teeth. RIP thin candy shelled friends.
As great of an idea that this was, it did cause me to stop.
To give God a small moment to whisper over my shoulder. To let the deep places in. Anytime, I begin to get annoyed by a matter of routine that I have to do over and over, I must ask myself: what is there for me to learn? Am I allowing myself to be taught?
I am not too proud to accept that my kitchen's dirt just might have the ability to reveal truth that some of the books on my nightstand can't even teach me.
Because, it is here. Right here. In this mundane moment that Jesus longs to meet with me. Meet with you. No scented candles. No worship music. In the middle of the mess. You just have to look past the pile. And so, I let the silence speak.
What am I really doing here? Why am I sweeping so much? Why do I feel this intense push to gather the grossness, to pursue order and cleanliness? Why does it bother me so much when life gets messy, dirty?
I let the idea roll around, while I shove the broom back into the coats/storage/toiletries/random-purse/kids-hiding-spot/supply closet. Pushing hard against the door, I tell myself for the one-thousandth time that I need to get a wall organizer for my cleaning tools already.
And as I step away from the door, I happen upon it. The reason that my dustpan is preaching to me today.
Just like the closet door conceals the reality of my messiness (or my mom-ness with three kids six and under at home), so does the sweeping. The constant need for control in the chaos. And guys, my life is chaos. I don't like my mess. I don't like to see what dirt my family has accrued over the day. I shiver to think about what the pile would look like if I didn't sweep the instant something sticks to the bottom of my foot. Which may be every 3.5 seconds.
I spend a lot of my time gripping the broom handle. Sometimes with gritted teeth, sometimes in a trance that makes my life easier to handle. Sweep. Sweep. Sweep. Progress. Progress. Progress.
I want to sanitize my life. I want no traces of grime, gunk.
And this is just another outlet for me to exercise control. It is a necessity that I clean my floors as often as I do, lest my baby die from eating the death-trap Lego's and the clump of hair. But, the difference now is that no pile of dirt will ever be just a pile of dirt again.
Instead, sweeping can become worship. And the task that used to drive me to performing and pretending can actually become a messy vehicle that reminds me of my need; a portal into prayer.
My dirt can now dress itself in thankfulness; it can become a quick Polaroid of play and mistakes and patience. This dust can produce life, if I let God breathe into it–just like he did at the very beginning.
One day my dust piles with be smaller. Maybe they will just be dust. A faint reminder of the days when dried rice, rhinestones and Army men used to push it underfoot. My heart hurts when I think about that. When I truly think about it. So when I sweep now, I will do my best to thank God for the random Lego, raisin and candy wrapper.
It's evidence that I am still at work with my babies and that God is still at work with me.
We’re in this together,