Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Psalm 51:1-3 (NIV)
In Florida, our seasons are all mixed up. We plant in the fall, harvest in the spring and sunbathe in the winter. In the summer, we huddle inside in the air conditioning peering out at the sun in the same manner that Alaskans must watch the winter snow pile up. So, it should not surprise anyone that we do our “spring” cleaning only in the fall when the hurricane forecasters tell us a storm is headed our way. While husband and youngest son prepped the generator and bought gas and propane, my job was to clean up all the stuff lying around our yard that has accumulated since the last tropical storm passed by. Urged on by the televised images of the wind turning garden hoses into lethal weapons, I threw away tons of broken items that up until now we have not been able to part with. In normal times, we rationalize. We might be able to use that matching set of plastic chairs with missing arms and fractured legs. That old satellite dish could be useful someday. The hole in the dogs’ wading pool just needs a patch. That extension cord that the dogs chewed up could be shortened and rewired. With thoughts of it flying through a window or into the side of a car, I hauled it all down to the road for tomorrow’s garbage pickup with a relentless enthusiasm. We live like the Beverly Hillbillies so it is a good thing when periodically a storm threatens us. Otherwise, over time, our yard would turn into a landfill. The rest of the stuff that we want to keep is now safely stored. Kayaks and canoes are lashed down, lawn furniture and bicycles are in the garage, and the concrete bird bath is tipped over on this side. The only thing I have left to do is pull the potted orchids off the chains that hang them from the trees, but I will wait until later to do that. They need a little rain. Although I do not expect that it will, should Fay strengthen, there is a whole other list of things we must do including boarding up the windows and fleeing inland to a friend’s house with dogs and horse in tow. For now, the clean up before the storm is done. It would have been a lot easier to manage if little by little over time, we kept our yard clean so that I would not have to make this massive, hurried effort. It makes me think about the act of confession and repentance in our daily lives. Sometimes, we think we have to wait until we get a big pile of offenses to drop them at God’s feet. How much better to come to Him moment by moment even with the littlest of sins? He is ready and willing to forgive. Then, when the storms of life come along, we can go to Him, clean and pure, to ask for His help.