Sunday, March 25, 2012
What Lies Beneath
The other day, you confided in me how something one of your little ones does seems to make you so angry. It's an ugly thing, this anger, springing from apparently nowhere and threatening to choke the joy right out of you. You almost don't recognize yourself in those moments: the loving, bubbly, mother and wife and friend that everyone knows and admires. You make yourself walk away, but you can't escape the disappointment you feel in yourself. How can I let a toddler make me so angry?
Can I just tell you that I've been there? More often than I'd care for you to know?
A couple nights ago, the Professor decided it was high time to deal with the stubborn way our clothes dryer kept singeing pieces of our laundry. He dragged the whole lunker out of the utility room so he could up-end the thing and do whatever it is that little boys who love taking stuff apart grow up to love doing.
Guess what we found underneath?
"A dirty, gummy film of dust and dried-up detergent-filled water, plus various small pieces of pocket detritus?"
Yup, you guessed it!
The thing is, I had a feeling that's what our floor looked like underneath the dryer. The mess had a way of peeping into view. But moving the whole contraption and getting a good look underneath, and then getting down on our hands and knees with a scrub brush to remedy the situation? Scary. Very scary.
But did my NOT moving the dryer and confronting the scum underneath mean that it wasn't actually there?
No. The scum, of course, was there the whole time. Very much so, in fact. Just because I didn't see it -- because I hadn't removed what covered it up -- didn't mean that ugliness didn't exist.
I realized, as I swept and scrubbed, that in our lives, dryers move. That is, God allows circumstances that have a way of rearranging our internal furniture. We think we're in pretty good shape, our surfaces maybe a bit cluttered here and there but basically polished and sanitary, and then changes and challenges come. Light shines on parts we've unknowingly kept hidden, and we think, "Wow, am I actually becoming a WORSE person? Did that ugliness really come out of ME?"
But without seeing the dirt that's lurking there anyway, how will we know what we need to hand over to be cleaned?
Be encouraged, sweet friend. We're all in the same process -- until He's fully at home in every corner of our hearts.