Today, I cleaned bathrooms. 4 bathrooms to be exact. When we first moved to this house, we were in hog heaven not having to wait in line anymore. Gone were the days of rushing through the front door after returning from dinner, hollering "I get the bathroom first!", and pushing through the family, small bodies and 1 large man bouncing off the sides of the hallway, proving how serious I was. Now all the little piggies have made the bathrooms anything but heavenly. I have to ask myself, was indoor plumbing really that great of an advancement? Think with me for a moment
Cain may have said, "Mom! Where's my loin cloth? I left it laying right by the creek after my bath!"
And Eve may have replied," A wild boar carried it off. I tried to tell you not to leave your clothes laying around." Problem solved. No more personal items laying around for the wildlife to shred.
Trees designated as "private" bore signs that read, "Use all the leaves you need, we'll grow more." No more cries to answer, such as "where's the toilet paper", "do you have any softer paper towels" and "do we really have to use wide ruled paper?". Nature's cool breezes provided what pine fresh spray in a can could not-instant ventilation.
Somewhere between cleaning toilet number 3 and 4 I had a brainstorm. I am going to install papertowel holders in all the bathrooms directly above the toilet paper. Above each will be a small plaque, (tastefully coordinating with the bathroom decor of course) that will read, "Don't just sit there, clean something."
The problem then arises, that after all the bathrooms are cleaned, one of my alternate personalities emerges. The first one to emerge from a cleaned bathroom is immediately brought before the Senate Committee, of which I hold all offices.
"What were you doing in there?" I harshly ask.
"Did you pee? Yes? Did you raise the lid? Did you get any drops anywhere else besides the designated area? Did you wash your hands? Did you poop? Was it loose or firm? LOOSE!!!! Oh. no! Did any residual matter stick to the upper part of the bowl, or was it all flushed down?? Did you touch the faucets with your dirty hands, or use your elbows like I showed you?"
And there is great fear and trembling present for the child who has to make multiple trips to the clean bathroom.
"Didn't you just use the bathroom? That's it I'm cutting back on your fluids! You're drinking too much! And go get the Immodium! You need a dose just in case! Did you use the fancy towel to dry your hands? I 've told you and told you, that towel is for the special guests! That's not us! Use the stained towel under the sink! "
It never fails, somebody gets a stomach virus after the bathrooms are cleaned. Although I have sort of wondered if all the tension in the home during and following my attack on the porcelain portals, has not induced irritable bowel syndrome in my kids.
I assure you, in those moments, the victim wishes he had just gone outside.
The thing that scares me the most, is that I am starting to have some very disturbing dreams about Mr.Clean. Apparently, in the deep, dark recesses of my heart, I secretly long for a bald man to come and not sweep me off my feet, but rather sweep around my feet. His smiling face on the cleaning bottle, just seems to say, " I will clean those bathrooms for you, my love, and I will enjoy doing it!" I am having some spiritual conflicts with the fact that he wears an earring, (oh, and the fact I am married), but I honestly believe if we had an immaculate home, my husband could tolerate the bald man with Febreeze cologne hanging out in the laundry room.
Oh, the daily trials of keeping the bathroom clean, and surviving in our home after they are clean!
In the middle of my tirade, God gently yet firmly, brought something to my attention. He has had the same issue with me for years, yet He has handled it so much better. While I realize the above comments may seem a little disgusting and improper to speak of, they are nothing compared to what I am getting ready to share. I have a horrible, disgusting habit. I have tried to break it, tried to hide it, tried to make it smell better or even look better-but I can't. I am a sinner. I daily sin. I try desperately to keep my soul fragrant, clean, and spotless, but I am powerless on my own to do it. So I must then make a trip to the "water closet" or more appropriately called the prayer closet. There I must reveal, confess, and grieve before my Father, asking for forgiveness for once again, having to dirty, and blemish the pristine, spotless, and beautiful throne room I entered. Yet, almost like Pilot, I am told to wash my hands of that sin. Each time I am given a fresh washing in the sparkling sink of mercy. Oddly, God has His children use stained towels too, to dry their newly cleansed hands- they are stained red with the blood of His Son and embroidered with Grace.
I have repeated this ritual time and time again, more times than I can remember, and not one time the Father chooses to remember. Each time I am met with the same welcome- open arms and gentle words. No condemnation. No reminders of how many times I had been there before. No rebukes for the messes He has to clean up-repeatedly. Just the same love, mercy, grace, and willingness to cleanse.
"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning." Lam. 3:22-23
It is a truly great and wonderful act of mercy and grace, that each morning we arrive in His presence to find no lingering reminders of yesterdays failures. There are no fingreprints on the sink of grace mocking us for having to return, no damp or wrinkled towel of mercy laying on the floor, reminding us it is right where we left it yesterday. New, fresh, clean, and sparkling preparations await me every day in the Father's Presence-for He chooses not to remember and removes all such memorbilia from His presence. New mercies-yet the same Loving God.
Now, I am having a very different vision of Mr. Clean. Same smiling face and eager desire to clean, yet in a very different way. He has olive skin, brown hair, and deep eyes that can look into my very soul, yet they never reveal the disappointment and sadness at what He must see there. And while He has no pierced ear, He has pierced hands and feet, that take His desire to clean me to a whole new level. And while He does accompany me to the laundry room, He dwells in my heart, for that is where there is the most work to be done. And there He smiles and says, "Let me clean you, my love, and I will enjoy doing it." Jesus puts Mr. Clean to shame.