I believe disgusting was the word my husband used for the kitchen floor. But I couldn’t take offense because it was disgusting. Abandoned pieces of cold cereal littered the floor. Smooshed raisins glared up at me in the midst of other food remains I was afraid to identify. If you’ve lived with a toddler, you probably know what I mean.
Worse yet, this mess on the floor had been there for at least three weeks. Gross? Most definitely. But when you care for a toddler all day and are waiting on another baby to arrive, you have to make certain choices. Do we eat off dirty dishes or enjoy a clean floor for maybe a half hour? Do I take a nap or just fall asleep standing up with the broom still in my hands? On this particular day, the question was, “Do I sweep the floor or get lunch for our visiting friends?”
Lunch won out, and the floor stayed as it was for another day. The weather was beautiful that day, so we ate at the table, with crushed cereal under our feet, and then sat outside and talked.
Would I love to have a clean house all the time? Absolutely. But it’s not going to happen during this season of my life. If I use a dirty floor as an excuse not to connect with others, I’m going to lead a very lonely life.
Connecting is hard enough for me. I’ve never been good at reaching out to others. And the more we’ve moved, the worse I’ve gotten. I think, Why take the trouble when I’ll probably just be moving on again soon?
But this was not Jesus’ attitude. He was available to others, even sometimes when they interrupted His plans (for example, Mark 5:21–43 or Mark 6:31–34). His time in some villages was short, and His entire public ministry was also relatively short. Yet when I read the Gospels, I don’t get the sense that Jesus held back relationally. He taught passionately, befriended deeply, and loved fully.
Convinced I need to work on connecting with others, I’ve been reading Mom Connection: Creating Vibrant Relationships in the Midst of Motherhood. I chose this book because I’ve found making friends to be a particular challenge with a young child to care for. Looking out for her interests means that I can’t do whatever I want whenever I want.
While reading this book, I did note some suggestions for connecting in a variety of relationships. But the most important suggestion was also one of the simplest: invite people into the day. Sometimes that means putting a task on hold, clearing the schedule, offering help, or asking for help.
Or maybe overlooking the cereal on the floor.
Mom Connection: Creating Vibrant Relationships in the Midst of Motherhood by Tracey Bianchi. Grand Rapids: Revell, 2012.