May 1, 2012

Seeing God in Dirty Water

I hate mops.  All they do is push dirt to the outside edges.  They leave too much water on the floor and they don't save THAT much time. They are breeding grounds for all sorts of critters.  I am not a clean freak by any stretch of the imagination, but if something doesn't work, I don't want to use it.  So, in Illinois, I got down on my hands and knees and washed the non-carpeted floors almost every week.  It was no big deal because the only non-carpeted floor was the small kitchen and our tiny bathrooms.

In our house in Arizona, the situation is entirely different.  Tile is king in Arizona because it stays cool during those summer months when you ecstatically praise God for days when the low dips below 100.  Even when the pool water soars to bathwater temperatures, our tile will still be cool.  When we bought our house, which I LOVE btw, I was not clearly thinking about the cleaning situation.  Nearly the whole house has tiled floors, beautifully designed.  Washing all the floors on my hands and knees was out of the question, so I searched for an alternative to mops.  Swifter looked promising, but I didn't like the landfill issues it would create.  I have to atone for all the disposable diapers I contributed to "Grayslake Mountain" (a.k.a. the landfill) during the baby years. I found a Swifter-like tool that had a washable cover which seemed to fit the bill.  Yes, it is better than a mop and even does a good job of cleaning a floor quickly.  But it isn't "perfect".  It can't get the dirt that runs in terror into the tiny ridges of our textured tile for protection.  Now some people might have looked at the brown "marbling" and thought it was part of the tile pattern, but I knew the truth and the truth was starting to bother me.  So last Friday, I decided to pull out the big guns and wash at least the hallways (see pictures) with a small bucket of cleaning solution, a scrub brush and a rag to pick up the excess water on my hands and knees.  There was one problem:  I only reached a third of the way down the long hallway before the water became very dirty. As I worked for a few minutes longer, wondering if some of the dirt particles were bribing the scrub brush to let them return to their former home, a Bible verse fragment popped into my head ( at a later time allowed me to look up the exact phrase)

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, 
   and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags
we all shrivel up like a leaf, 
   and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
Isaiah 64:6

You can't clean a dirty floor with dirty water.  It needs to be changed, in my case, about four times before the job was done.  And I can't clean myself up by doing good things.  The good things I do don't remove the bad things I have done.  If anything, my bad deeds soil my good deeds.  I need someone else to clean me up and that person is Jesus.  It takes his blood covering me to wash away my evil, just like I needed clean water and solution to get the floors truly clean.  

You would think a "mature" Christian like myself wouldn't need these reminders, but "man is a giddy thing" and I can forget to put a new roll of TP in the bathroom in the course of washing my hands, especially if one of the kids is trying to talk to me through the door because I can always hear them because they can't wait another second for something that is "vitally important."  This is probably the 10,000th time He has given me this lesson and I am finally starting to catch on quicker and put it into practice.  

The importance of this lesson is that without understanding His grace, I can not pass it onto the people He puts in my life, who are just as unclean as I am.   And I do believe that God wants us to pass His grace onto the people He has put into our lives (Matthew 18:21-35,  James 2:12-13) so that they experience and know His grace.  I used to be pretty bad at this, but I am getting better, thanks to His lessons. 

"There is hope for me yet because God won't forget all the plans He's made for me.  I have to wait and see...He's not finished with me yet." (Brandon Heath, "Wait and See" from his album "What if We")

1 comment:

Jane Hoppe said...

Good job, Kris. Scrubbing floors is hard. But I'm glad you found doubly redeeming things about it this time. I just heard the same truth elsewhere a few days ago; God is reminding me how much I need His grace.