I just want to say something worth hearing. I want my words to touch your heart.
And all these other tasks just pile up and fragment time… time that should be spent doing more. Encouraging women. Saving children. Pondering theology. Praying ceaselessly.
But there is dirty laundry on the bathroom floor. The living room floor. The bedroom floor and the laundry room floor and the tops of beds and towel racks and rags on countertops. And mountains of clean laundry to sort and fold and put away. There are diapers to change, phone calls to make, papers to sort and shred and file. Windows with greasy, silly face-print smudges that need cleaning. Flowers that need planting. Hair that needs washing. Bread that needs baking. Sticky purple jelly smears on floors and door handles and light switches. And I cringe at the work of all of this because it feels like nothing I was made for. It feels like the stuff keeping me from real life.
But I remember, again, that this is real life, and I guzzle down the coffee quick and strap on my apron – the new one from the sweet lady at the Saturday Market – the sturdy, cheery one fashioned of cupcake fabric that makes me smile and a loop for holding a dishrag and a waist pocket big enough to hold my iPod, so I can fill my heart with music and voice-recorded books as I fill my hands with all the dirty remnants of yesterday. I dress for this work. Because the apron is my only uniform – my own personal superhero cape.
This is how I save children.
And this is how I encourage and ponder and pray. With clean diapers, with fresh bread, with quiet praises lifted all the day long. With song-filled humming and smiles at little ones while folding pillowcases and mopping floors and teaching literature and porch-sitting in the evening every now and again. In between interruptions and frustrations where I breathe deep and keep going, even when I’m weary, in the strength that is not my own, because it’s the gift I can give to the twelve bodies within this house, and the neighbors and friends that pass through.
And at the end of it, when I fall into bed and I count blessings, I remember that I, too, can be blessed by all of this. My work, my rest, my smiles and bread and words become marks of all these gifts overflowing – all the beautiful details of a full and wonderful and messy and amazing life, sweeter than grape-jelly smudges.