Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23 (NIV)
We are currently kidless. Oldest little bird graduated from college, left the nest and is trying out his wings in a far away city. Youngest little bird is at a Boy Scout Camp in Virginia working as a white water guide on the New River. The empty nest is not a bad thing, but before my little birds flew away, they did not clean up their share of the nest. Oldest was home just long enough to dump four years worth of college stuff in his childhood room. He left tons of old papers and textbooks, lamps, rugs, chairs and appliances all piled up on one end and on the bed. Youngest departed in a hurry as well leaving enough trash to single-handedly fill a dumpster. As he packed his first aid kit and clothing, he just dropped the wrappers and packaging on the floor. I tried to ignore it all for one week, but gave up this past weekend and attacked the mess. I do not know how I could raise two children so concerned about the environment that they would never think about littering, yet they can throw a soda can on the floor of their room without even a backward glance. I pulled two bags of trash out of each room as well as five laundry baskets of just towels. There are at least that many loads of dirty clothes as well. When I moved furniture to vacuum, I found a dishwasher full of dirty dishes, some of which had mold growing in them. If it were science fair time, we would win first prize. I scrubbed and sorted. I washed sheets and remade beds. I organized closets, closed drawers that hadn’t been closed in years and put books back on shelves. It took me a long time to do, but when I was finally done, it felt good to look at those clean rooms and know that they would stay clean until youngest returns in five weeks. Unless oldest swoops back in again. I hope he knows I get to keep all his stuff. Those dorm room accessories are going to look great in my new tack room. What I would really like to do is turn his room into a pretty guestroom full of fluffy pillows and trinkets, but did not have the heart to take down all the soccer awards and Civil Air Patrol trophies. At least, not yet. I have not figured out how to balance the “This is still your home” mantra with “Go, soar and build your own nest.” All of this cleaning made me think about my own heart. It gets dirty and cluttered up too and sometimes, it is because other people stash their own messes there. If I ignore it too long, my heart can get just like the upstairs of my house, moldy, junky and full of trash. I cannot clean it up on my own, but Jesus can. Even the areas where I have been dumped upon.