18 June 2011

Lessons from Life in the Dust Bowl

My househelper, R., came on Thursday, and worked her regular magic and left my kitchen, bathroom, and floors sparkling clean . . . and rather dust-free.  Mondays and Thursdays have become my favorite days of the week, because while I love the satisfaction that comes when there's a pile of dirt in the corner of a clean floor, I hate, no really, HATE that within an hour, there is no evidence that a broom had ever been swept over the painted-gray cement.

So R. came on Thursday morning.  And that evening my toes relished in the joys of walking through the house barefoot.  As I fell asleep there was a soft wind blowing through the windows.  Clean floor, nice breeze . . . ah, yes, life was good, and I was quickly asleep.

CRASH!  Around 3:30 my fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous response shocked me out of my coma-like state.  My bedroom and bathroom doors had simultaneously slammed shut from the force of the winds rushing through my house.  I jumped up to hurry to close all the windows in the house before everything was coated in dust and then rain.

Too late.

As my feet hit the floor I knew there was no point.  Everything . . . I repeat, EVERYTHING was filmed with a decently thick layer of rusty dust.  Feeling defeated I went back to sleep.  All of R.'s sweeping and mopping and dusting done in vain.  Come morning, as I was about to take off for work, I glanced back at the floors . . . rusty footprints everywhere.

When I got to my office, it was even worse.  It's been about two weeks since I asked housekeeping to come and wash the floor . . . so add last night's windstorm to this already-catastrophic-disaster, and the Département de la Rééducation was practically a sandbox.  I found the men-in-blue and asked them to come take care of the mess.  I moved all the equipment out into the hallway so that they could come with the fire hoses and long-handled-squeegies to work their magic.

As three of them washed, scrubbed and scraped my floor clean, I began to watch as the rusty filth began to flood then disappear through a strategically placed pipe in the wall-to-floor-junction.  They were washing the dirt away, and what was left was clean and renewed.  I leaned agains the door jam and began to hear that little voice in my head 'Though your sins were as scarlet they shall be white as snow' (Isaiah 1:18)  We don't get much snow in Galmi, but the metaphor was there all the same.

I stood there, watching three men mop my floor, thinking about how, like the dust that is brought by the Nigerien wind, sin in my life covers everything.  Sometimes it's a filmy coating . . . others it's enough to fill a sandbox.  And regardless of how much there is or how deeply I detest the feeling of it on my feet, it's there to stay until it gets washed away.

I can sweep several times . . . make little piles to put in the bin . . . but it's never fully gone.  I can blow it with a fan, but it just disperses to coat something else . . . it's still there.

It's only with washing that I can get rid of the dust.  Titus 3:4&5 tells us that it's not in our own efforts that we are made clean, but through the 'washing of regeneration' . . . Jesus has to come in with His fire-hose and long-handled-squeegie to take care of the mess.  It is He Who renews . . . He Who cleans . . . He Who restores.

Sure, it's usually within an hour that I've made a muck of it again . . . soiled up the floor . . . tracked mud back in . . . but the good news is, unlike R., Jesus doesn't only come to clean on Mondays and Thursdays . . . no, all we have to do is ask and confess and He is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:9)!  Now if only I had as little tolerance for the rusty dust in my heart as do on my floors . . . maybe I need to pray for some stonger spiritual-texture-issues.


Barb said...

Deb-You are  an amazing young woman and I miss you already!  YOU - NOT the dust!

Deb. said...

AuntieBarb, Galmi is not the same without you guys! (And there are at least a dozen homonyms anxiously awaiting your return) : )

Bethany Reamer said...

"it is He who renews... He who cleans... He who restores."  love it.  thanks for the reminder!