Sometimes it feels like the only thing I ever do is clean up other people’s messes. The table needs to be wiped at least 5 times a day. The floor begins collecting mud again the moment I stop sweeping. The dishes and laundry are literally NEVER done.
For months, I’ve been struggling with the monotany of my existence: wash, rinse, repeat.
My work never stays “worked” for more than a few minutes before I need to start working again.
-Make the dinner.
-Clean it up.
-Flush the toilet
-Scrub the bathroom, because the kids made a mess in there with YESTERDAY’S DINNER. (Sorry, but that’s the reality.)
When my sister had her first baby, my niece spit up constantly. She was a happy baby, but a very, very pukey one. All of her outfits were stained, the bibs were useless, and the amount of soiled burp cloths, blankets, and sheets to wash was incredible.
Eventually, my sister asked me, “Should I try feeding her less?! I feel like I’m just reloading the puke canons every time she nurses!”
We laughed. But that’s exactly what we’re doing every time we feed humans of any age: we’re supplying them with the ammunition to make more messes. In one manner of viewing things, living creatures are massive Mess-Making Machines.
There are only two ways to deal with this situation: with hopelessness, or by intentionally seeking the bright side.
Hopelessness says, “Every day is the same. My work leads to more work.”
But joyfulness says, “Thank God I’m needed and my steps are laid out in front of me.”
Hopelessness says, “There are unending messes everywhere I look.”
Joyfulness says, “There are signs of life everywhere I look.”
Hopelessness complains that it’s loading canons merely to clean up the blast.
But Joyfulness embraces the fact that messes are the byproducts of GROWTH.
Oh, the growth is hard to detect. Sometimes it’s physical and sometimes it’s intellectual or emotional. But, where humans are making messes, things ARE MOVING. Energy is being converted. Bodies are being nourished. Thoughts are being connected. Discoveries are being made.
Messes are the byproducts of growth–like smoke billowing from a busy factory. Maybe you’re burdened by the smog. But the waste products are reminders that work is being done on the inside.
The same way our lungs breathe out carbon dioxide after miraculously using up the oxygen–our kids leave their bits of paper under the art table after miraculously making a memory.
Animals drop fur and old skin cells as they move about their day; and I watch my kids spit their toothpaste in the sink before heading off to dream a new dream.
Milk goes in. And–yes–some comes back out.
But let’s not forget what ELSE comes out of those little bodies: smiles and words and (eventually) whole paragraphs of poetry. Some day they will sing songs that no other soul has sung before.
We can’t simply stop supplying the fuel for those Mess Machines, but why would we want to?
There are important things sprouting that we miss when we only focus on the by-products.
Yes, those machines certainly do make messes, but that’s not ALL they make. They are embodied spirits, growing in knowledge of their Creator and learning to glorify HIM with every piece of dust they kick up.
Thank goodness for messes to remind us we are His workmanship. As we go about the business of converting raw resources into beautiful pieces of worship: we must be prepared to deal with the by-products of our trade.
Wash, rinse, and repeat cheerfully, Moms! Growth is being achieved in your midst.