My house is a disaster. Complete and utter. And there is no escaping it. The mess is upstairs and down, inside and out. Courtesy of a perfect storm of cold weather, a Saturday afternoon, and four children who think they’re adults.
Two kids can clutter a house on their own. No assistance is required. But when those two kids are joined by two more kids, this is the result. Toys strewn across floors and furniture. Hand and even foot prints on the walls and doors. Not to mention spilled drinks, dropped food, and a mammoth pile of dirty dishes.
This is why I frown upon play dates. They have a tendency to turn my home into Lord of the Flies.
And now, with my wife gone to take my children’s friends back to where they belong, this mess is all mine.
Where to start is always the toughest question to answer when faced with this sort of situation. Everything seems so overwhelming. How am I supposed to prioritize what needs to be done first and what can wait? Am I supposed to begin with the small or the large? Should I start upstairs and work my way down, or downstairs and work my way up?
I don’t know. It all too confusing. And in my confusion I find myself asking one more question:
What can one person do to fix all of this?
“Nothing,” I mutter, trudging into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. And since I’m there, I figure I might as well start with the dishes. So I fill up the dishwasher then transfer what’s left to the sink, where I begin the process of wash/rinse/dry.
Meanwhile, the television in the living room is broadcasting the day’s news. Bailouts and unemployment. Taxes. Inflation, deflation, and stagflation. War. Even a reference to Revelation.
Such is life in this modern age. Struggling not to overcome, but to simply keep up. Trying to hang on to job and family. Trying to still believe in this world, that we can fix things and make a difference.
I hate the news.
Not because it’s so bad or usually slanted one way or the other. No, I hate the news because it never stops. There’s always something new to worry about and something more that needs fixing.
Not unlike my house, I suppose.
Both have been made a mess by children who thought they were adults, and both need a good straightening up and cleaning.
I know this. And I know that as God has seen fit to put me here, now, then He must expect me to do some of that straightening and cleaning. But again come those questions. Where do I start? Big? Small? What should I do now and what should I wait to do later?
I don’t know. It all seems so overwhelming, this mess. It’s not just the news stories of people losing their jobs and homes. It’s the feelings those stories breed. It’s the sense of despair and resignation that so many seem to be feeling now. If we are to pull ourselves out of this, we need more than governments and stimulus packages. We need hope. Hope that not only can things get better, we are the ones to make it that way.
It’s easy sometimes to think we’re powerless to alter the course of things. Easy to think we’re too small and too puny to make things better. But I don’t think we’re so powerless.
I can’t clean my whole house, but I can wash the dishes. I can’t go everywhere and do everything, but I can take care of what’s in front of me and do what I can.
The great secret? If we all do our part, however small it may be, we will find in the end that just because things are tough now doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. And just because we can’t clean up the whole mess doesn’t mean we can’t clean up a little of it.