I’ve lived through five teenagers, so I know what it’s like to enter a kitchen where ‘no one has done anything’ but the evidence suggests otherwise.
And I’ve been a teenager myself. In fact, I think it took well into my twenties before I realized I might help out at big family dinners.
When we are young we tend to see what’s right in front of our nose and nothing else.
The difficulty with this is that we leave messes everywhere we go. Thinking we live in a world unto-ourselves has us believing we are helping, when in fact we are not.
Now, as a Mom of five I went from screeching about the messes to quietly cleaning them up – regardless of who made them.
The older I get the less I want to expend precious energy in ramming kitchen justice down anyone’s throat.
Today, as I enter my kitchen and find myself cleaning up after others, I wonder about God and this world, our relationships and everything else about our lives, and I wonder how many messes we are leaving behind without even realizing it.
You see, in order for a teenager to mature and learn to help in the kitchen, to see beyond the ends of their own noses, they typically have to leave home and start taking care of their own kitchen.
With no one to blame every dish and glass and spoon and crumb and oil smear suddenly and glaringly becomes their own. If nothing else, it is good for us to live alone for a time, simply that we might find our responsibility muscle.
Too many people and no one is taking responsibility. And so it is with our world.
It is far too easy to blame everyone else for what is wrong. Unable to look beyond the ends of our noses we never look up and we never take responsibility.
But God is not like this. In fact, God has been cleaning up our messes for eons.
Quietly and patiently sweeping the floors and wiping the counters of our lives, our communities and our nations.
More than we will ever realize.
And as followers of God it is our opportunity and privilege to mirror our Lord. We can step up to the plate, take it on as though it was ours to begin with, and begin to set things right.
With patience, in quietness, we get on with the work at hand. For as an old mentor of mine once said, “A mess just requires a bit of work to set it straight.”
Yes and amen I say. Let’s all grow up and take on something around us, that may not be ours, but that can be transformed by our participation.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be making more messes, I’d like to be cleaning them up.