Two statements really have touched me lately. This:
I contemplated these phrases as I prepared dinner one recent evening, dinner to feed the four of us and also to feed a family who recently welcomed a baby.
“Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Isn’t it true? I peel potatoes and ponder. We poor frail humans are so ill-equipped for the struggles of life. The large tragedies, the catastrophes, the traumas. The small struggles, the disappointments, the quiet heartaches. In our pain we break down, we fall, we stray.
At the end of hard days, Pat and I ruefully remind one another, “Life sucks; then you die.”
And as a Christian I know the truth beneath the cynicism. At the end of this vale of tears, I will meet my maker and He will ask
Were you kind?
Did you love?
I chop onion, awestruck at the miracle: love can cover my multitude of sins. With each small act of kindness, with each *thwunk* of frozen chicken against aluminum pan, each shake of garlic powder, I can ease the burden of another’s battle.
I chop potatoes, my own small multiplying of fishes and loaves, changing spuds from one to two to four and eight, doing it in memory of Him. I marvel: I can show kindness; I can love; I can be the blessing.
Christ said to set the world ablaze. And doesn’t each blaze start with a small flame? A small act of love? A small flame of
HOLY SH*T! FLAMES IN MY OVEN!
Fire leaps, soaring, like Spirit Holy from on high.
Fingers trembling, I pull the pin, spray the extinguisher, stifling panic-within and quelling blaze-without.
Dust of fire extinguishing chemicals intertwines with plumes of smoke, wafting through the air. Smoke alarms, one then two then three, raise their cries. Young children, too, raise their voices. Dust floats down, enters open rooms, touches every surface, falls like manna. The children howl, complain, like Israel in the desert: “What is this?”
Computer Programmer Husband, skin pale from days spent indoors, back hunched from hours at the keyboard, climbs stairs up from the basement office, opens windows and doors; I take the girls outside. He wipes down tables and chairs; I order Papa John’s. We break pizza crust together, put girls to bed; we dust and mop and sweep.
Laughing dourly, we remember hours spent spring cleaning only weeks ago, the dusting and mopping and sweeping, once done and now being redone.
Sore of back and cold of head, I call it a day, stumble to bed. Computer Programmer Husband keeps a lonely vigil.
And as he wipes and scrubs away the film of gray that pollutes the air we breathe, that shrouds our hearth and home . . . .
Surely this kindness–this love–covers the multitude of his sins.
(With apologies to Ann Voskamp)
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