In the interest of full disclosure, I do clean my home. I vacuum the carpets in my little house often and even have been known to rent a commercial steam cleaner not once but 12 times to suck ground-in dirt and, hopefully, antique stains out of the Berber.
To no avail.
Sure, for about 3-1/2 days after a thorough steam-cleaning, the carpet shines in all its builder-grade beige brilliance. Then, on the afternoon of the half-day, they seep back up...slowly at first, as though a slow fade in would not be as noticed as a full-onslaught that the sixth day brings. By the end of the sixth day, the marker episode from when Laura was three comes to life right after her vomiting episode after drinking red punch flames up for all to see.
I have a serious loath-hate relationship with the carpet in my house to the point I am thinking about ripping it up and painting the subfloor underneath. This solution made my mother say out loud, "That would be uglier than homemade sin and twice as loud." Don't get me wrong; I am thankful to the Good Lord for the roof overhead and His many blessings, but could the kids actually wipe their feet when they come in?
Must I be the only one in my household who cares?
I am well aware of the Scripture that admonishes us to be hospitable in our homes. "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.," the writer of Hebrews 13:2 shares.
Perhaps it's less of a question about caring and more of a mindset. After all, we do have four kids, so our home is very well lived-in. It's a home, after all, not a museum. Who would want to live in an ultra-sterile environment?
[I kinda would, for like an hour, just to breathe and drink hot tea].
Still, the carpets. They mock me. I had a yard sale for missions at my house in the spring. Yard sale items were piled up in every single corner of the open-concept living arrangement and I couldn't get the steam cleaner. So, I spent an inordinate amount of time apologizing for the carpet and being embarrassed. Yet, my friend said that it made her feel at home. I asked her if her carpets were stained, as though we were discussing something hidden, illicit: "Yes," she admitted. "And it's okay."
This was a game-changer. A life-altering revelation while people rummaged outside through the cast-offs of five households' stuff for quarters and dollars. Honestly, I thought that I was the only one with carpets that held within its non-woven fibers the memories of late nights up with sick babies, laughing so hard juice explodes out of noses and into the carpets, or of unfortunate spills, both liquid and tripping. I began to look at the stains on the carpet as a tell-all book: the spill of barbeque sauce during Sam's high school graduation party, of Laura's first-birthday chocolate smash cake, of Jacob running in with muddy feet after he rescued Laura from riding her bike too close to the street. It held within its once-luxurious Berber tiny paint blotches from all our decorating whims. It tells a story.
Peter wrote in his first epistle, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling," [4:9]. Could this grumbling also extend to carpets? Should we not practice hospitality, open our doors for Bible studies and dinners and Happy Birthday to Jesus parties despite the stains that mock us?
Just as Jesus can use anything to bring us closer to Him, I believe satan can use anything to draw us farther away from being Christ's hands and feet on this earth and sharing Him with others. Even carpet.
Yes, I will continue to vacuum and, who am I kidding, rent a steam cleaner on occasion, but the days of not having people over or being, yes, ashamed, of it are over. God has provided this house. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows," [James 1:17].
(C) 2015 Terrie McKee
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