I grabbed a tiny brush, got down on my hands and knees, and cleaned the grout between the tile on the bathroom floor. I clean, but not this kind of clean. I thought about the next people who would live in the confines of these walls that I have lived for the past year with my family. I imagined how the space would be used and how the family dynamic would surely be quite different than ours.
My husband walked into the bathroom as I was scrubbing while holding our youngest and I told him that it felt good to clean, to know that someone else would appreciate this. I didn’t do it half way. I worked hard. I took pride in it. I told him that I hoped that the house we had purchased would be equally clean, because I wasn’t interested in doing this a second time. I got quite metaphorical with him, because what else do you do while you’re cleaning. I had shared that even if we move into our new home and it’s not as clean as this, it’s okay. It’s okay because I wasn’t cleaning our home to get a clean home on the other end. I went a bit deeper suggesting that it comes down to expectations and that the point of the cleaning was to bless and serve. To clean as if it were unto the Lord, right? I felt good. I felt like I cleaned as if the good Lord himself would be there.
Possession day. I ate my words. I choked on them, actually.
Nobody cleaned for me. There was actually trash left for us to take care of. I grumbled, stumbled (around the trash), I cried, whined, and pitied myself. It was an experience. I got down on my hands and knees and started the process over. I didn’t feel blessed or like I was serving. I felt angry, frustrated, and sweaty. I sat on every floor in our new home and cried. My sweet daughter repeating “i’m sorry, smells like poop in here mom”. It took me a good 24 hours to get over it enough to stop complaining to every person within my voice distance.
My mother and sister showed up after driving all night with two children in the backseat. They walked in bearing gifts, gave hugs, (used the potty), and asked which floor they could mop first. They were already aware of the state of things, because of my complaining mouth. They got down on their hands and knees, sweating as they pushed mops across the hardwood floors. They continued to work for the next few hours as I held babies, nursed a babe, visited as friends came over with bouquets of flowers, and made snacks for hungry little tummies. And I haven’t even touched on how my dad and another sister (and nephew) showed up the next day to do a list of “fix-it’s” throughout the house, spoil us with food, and tend to the kids needs.
They blessed and they served.
And while I didn’t ask them directly, I doubt they expect me to return the favor at their homes.
I began to remember what I hold told Matt just two days earlier. It’s easy to say words that sound good and to know in my head what is right and honorable.
It’s hard when you have to live it. When you have to make choices that go against “fair”. When you have to swallow the beliefs that this world grinds into you that “you deserve good”, “do unto others as they do to you” and retribution.
I swallowed hard after I choked.
It’s glorious how my God uses selfish moments and tired tears to teach me. How He provides a family to Matt and me that blesses us and serves us. While I’m never surprised by the work they do, because it’s who they are, I’m always so deeply touched by their actions and words. My family has always had an unspoken clause about commitment and devotion and God used it to reel me back in last week. It’s a beautiful thing when God uses loved ones to teach you the values you thought you already knew.
After multiple days of sweat and tears of joy, we decided to hide packed boxes in un-used rooms and sit down to mexican food. Because nothing brings my family together like good chips and salsa.