I was startled awake when I stumbled into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot this morning.
It was the dining room table that did it.
It was empty except for a bowl of fruit, a tray of napkins, and my husband’s Chronological Bible.
It was an unexpected sight, one I’m still getting re-acquainted with.
Truth is, over the past several months, my table has served as a catch-all, a visual reminder of just how busy our lives were. Mounds of books, in-coming and out-going mail, oversized purses that doubled as book-bags, field trip papers waiting for signatures and dozens of blanks filled in with information that I can never remember (yeah, don’t even get me started on papers that parents have to sign!), essays, lipsticks and lip glosses, a point-and-shoot Canon and a half-dozen camera cards, an eye-glass cloth, Kindles, and tablets, and the keep-em-busy-while-you-cut-the-food-up highchair tray (so many nifty inventions since my kids were littles!) and graduation announcements, and so forth. The HH is certain that if we look up “chair” in the dictionary it will read: a place to stack books and hand bags.
Funny guy. Brutally honest guy.
Back in the days when my kids could waddle beneath the table, in the days when their pudgy, sticky fingers could barely grasp the table top, my home was actually cleaner, tidier. Still, back then I held on to the idyllic picture that one day they would grow up and put their dishes in the dishwasher and pick up their toys (iPods, laptops, Kindles, cell phones…all with chargers…who knew back then?) and wipe up their ice cream dribbles and understand what a hamper is.
And grow they did.
But the inner photo changed, and the Boy-with-a-Cat-Named-Webster began to quote a favorite snippet from an unknown source: A clean house is a sign of a wasted life, and I’m learning to wear my disarray comfortably, without shame. This morning you can’t even see the floor of my practically perfect graduate’s room. The hampers occasionally overflow with bigger sized clothing. And that table! Oh, that table, the one from which we’d have to haul mounds of stuff to the Barley Twist, antique table in the living room in order to sit down for dinner? It’s cleared off today, but who knows what tomorrow might bring? Since I’ve been working and going to school and trying to keep up with an active family and church and…well, in the midst of non stop activity, messes abound. And now? Now we’re blessed with a chunky little grandson whose plump feet pitter patter throughout the house, leaving giggles and laughter and toys behind him. Messy.
But summer break arrived last week, with hail storms and tornadoes and vacillating temperatures. And although the weather has been loud and unpredictable, the days have been quieter, slower; eventually the stacks of stuff were moved to less obtrusive places. Papers were filed, school books returned, hand bags emptied, lipsticks returned to their make-up cases. It’s tidier, quieter…but then again, there is not a lot of activity.
Back in those days of my children’s chubby legs, of non-stop chatter that couldn’t be deciphered by any other family tribe, days of sweaty, baby-skin hugs and bedraggled teddy-bears and Legos everywhere, way back then my journey as a Christ-Follower was just beginning.
And looking back, I realize I also had an unrealistic albeit picturesque image of where my faith would be now: a tidy, question-free faith, everything in neat little boxes and baskets and at the ready when needed. A matured faith would be an easy faith.
It’s not like that.
Oh, I’ve definitely grown in the faith. But it looks more like my table during the busy seasons of life. It’s not what I thought it would look like, not as simple, not as perfect for display as I had anticipated.
But it is an active faith, a growing faith, a dynamic faith.
And of this I remain resolute: I love and need Jesus more than ever.
I can’t even begin to describe the joy and freedom He has brought.
Still, there are questions, there is messiness.
Someday, when this heart stops beating, all the questions will be made clear.
Until then, I’ll reconcile myself to the untidy, the sometimes jumbledness, of it all.
And I will continue to unashamedly proclaim my love for Him, who makes all things beautiful in their time.
For now we see in a mirror dimly (a mirror covered with pudgy finger and lip prints?), but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
Have a beautifully messy day!
Marie with a 🙂