Monday, September 29, 2008

What a Tale My Floor Does Tell


Warm water pools on floor with suds. I scrub hard at this week's dirt and grime. Enjoying the solitude and quiet, I thank God for servant-hearted husband who takes high-spirited children to Grandma's and Grandpa's house for the afternoon.

I think a while on the fun they'll have, collecting apples, picking raspberries, father and son shooting their arrows and drawing bows. Grandma's peaceful kitchen where tasty snacks and treats are served to wide-eyed grandchildren. In my mind's eye, I feast on sugar maples with garments of orange, red, and yellow. I think of still water at pond's edge and hope there'll still be a duck or two. I know they'll have fun and come back exuberant, with adventures to tell. Soon I will hear their laughter, animated voices, and the calling of my name, "Mommy....and the stories unfold. I look forward to their arrival.

I take scraper to hardened dribble of pancake batter and smile as I remember the cook. Enthusiastic daughter ladling batter to skillet, changes mind on amount and pours some back in bowl. Dribble leaves a trace.

Three tiny smeared blackened foot-prints around dishwasher bring a smile to my lips as I wipe them from tile. I ponder the wonder on two-year-old's face as he carefully rested his soiled foot on wet dishwasher door and made his mark there and on the floor. His eyes were wide when he slid and watched the dirt smear from tiny toes. His innocent upturned face looked into my eyes when he said, "Sorry, Mommy," after I cautioned about slippery wet and messes made.

I have found that dry cereal with milk becomes soggy and adheres to floor. I take a scraper to this, add water, and a little elbow grease. I remember admonishing, "Stop flinging cereal!" and lecturing about the example of being the oldest brother. His response, "Ah Mom, they (the twins) were laughing." The glint in his eye told me he thought it was worth it. I remember thinking, "Why do I have to be the mom and kibosh tomfoolery?" I remember when I was his age and I thought it was fun too. Now it's about messes and respect and being responsible, setting examples and the clean-up. I might've gotten him to clean the mess but chose not to go down that road then. Next time, maybe I will.
Around the table is always the worst with dirt-covered sticky stains. I remember juicy nectarines in pudgy hands, and older children slurping the nectar of large pears. There were cantelope wedges and conversations at breakfast with dribbles on tiny chins. Scraper in hand again, I excavate some rice bonded, evidence of warm home-made beef soup. The trough in boys' bibs is great for catching solids, liquids run as toddlers wiggle. The twins' little game of saying hello as they bend under table to play peek-a-boo back and forth is an interaction we all enjoy. Our floor bears the tale of contents spilt. So I wipe soils and now stringy dried beef that crackles and skitters across the floor.

I hear fridge's hum and rustling leaves whisper through the screened patio door, noises that often are unheard as little foxes rumble in the den. I listen to car engine's drone fade and children playing several lots over. Content, I find peace in afternoon's space.

This act of measured effort, scrape, scrub, wipe dry, yields a harvest of gratification. I revel in the stories my floor tells. There are secrets too, this floor can't tell. These secrets leave marks on hearts, not floors. Times of impatience, irritability, harsh words, and offenses given and taken. They are stains that can't be wiped with my rag and pail. It's God who scrubs clean this sinner's heart.

...and so, on bended knee I scrub the floor, and with a humble heart I repent of words spoken, and attitudes harboured. I ask forgiveness for my heart's stain and He lovingly wipes it clean too, like this floor.

Pail is dumped and suds scurry down the drain. Satisfied, I enjoy clean floor sparkle and purged heart, light now from the weight of sin's grime. I know it won't be long before new stains find their way upon this heart and floor.

He is faithful. His grace washes life's messes clean. I hear laughter and voices of my children. A smile lights my face. What a tale my floor does tell.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 NASV

He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.
Psalm 18: 19 NASV

Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much increase comes by the strength of the ox. Proverbs 14:4  NASV

4 comments:

Susan said...

Wow, Ellen, that really takes me back.

You should consider getting a dog. :)

Just kidding. You know what scripture that reminds me of? One that was on my mind and heart often when our children were at the height of the "mess-making" period of their lives. I have some very memorable ones, including one that that involved copious amount of coffee grinds, honey and brown sugar - and another that was all to do with black shoe polish and a two-year-old's face and body.

It's Proverbs 14:4.
"Where no oxen are, the stable is clean,But much increase comes by the strength of the ox."

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angcat said...

Just Beautiful Joyful!
A vivid tale indeed, with reminders of what's really important, all from a grimy floor.
I loved it.

Joyful Fox said...

Susan,

Jason quotes that verse to me all the time, I never thought to add it here. Maybe I might just do that now. It is so fitting.

It's funny, before the twins sat at the table, I'd wash my floor once a month and spot-clean regularily. Now, there's just now way.

Oh the stories you must have to tell. I have only 5 - you had 4 more dear ones to love, train, and clean-up after.