I still look for it to be hanging there next to the broom and sponge mop I don’t use anymore. Then I remember and grab the Swifter and fasten a dusting cloth to it.
Do you remember dust mops? Do you even remember rag mops? They were nasty to use, reaching down to wring the thick cords of fiber with your bare hand, wringing out all of that dirty water.
In between moppings we would take another long-handled tool, one with an oval-shaped fingery looking soft pad on the end and glide it across the floor to pick up the dust unseen to the eye. I’d go out the back door and shake it out, shaking all of that dust into the air.
I grew up in a time when most folks had wood floors and wanted carpet. Now we’re at a time where we’ve seen the wisdom of the wood floors or at least the beauty in their warm patina.
Everything changes, even our household tools. We go to the next new thing and sometimes end up returning to the tried and true. Or just the familiar.
It makes me consider changes in our life, things I held on to but have discarded and others I’m holding tight-fisted in utter fear of the unknown of letting go.
I move to another room with its textured ceramic tiles. I’ll need the broom for this. I’ll need it’s stiff bristles to get the crumbs that gather in the grout lines. Even the broom has changed since my childhood. Nylon bristles instead of straw and the brilliant addition of it’s angled edge.
If only I could sweep away the dirt in my life this easy. I think about that as I see the bits of dust and who knows what that has fallen to the floor. Like the floors in our house that need this cleaning regularly, so does my soul. Yet I neglect that as easily as I neglect the floor.
The story about seeing the dirt in the life of others came to mind as the broom swept across the floor. It’s a lesson about how easy it is to see, and call out, the dirt on another persons floor, or face, or life (see social media) when its our life that is the bigger mess.
Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
Matthew 7:3-5 the Message
Yes, that’s the way we live today and it’s easy that way. Hiding behind a screen, not looking in the mirror, or looking but failing to see.
Our ministry lives are mostly about showing people how to live. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking we have it down: Smile, be nice, don’t cuss or get into a fight and know some bible verses. Look happy.
But behind the veneer is always a layer of crud. We aren’t perfect and don’t make out to be but others see what they want to see and our men want to see a life that can be lived well. They want to see a marriage that works. They want to know a true kind of love. They want to learn how to accept grace and to learn there is a God who has loved them at their worst. They want to see all of that through us. That’s how it is, friends. People are looking at you for the same hope. All of our lives are a ministry to others.
So we show them our faults and failures and how grace holds us in its grip and the love that will never let go. God’s love that chases us even through the valley of the shadow of death.
Housework isn’t my favorite. But it’s necessary. And I choose it over living in dirt. But I’ve got more cleaning to do on the inside. A lot more.