Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Grout People

Today was a very productive day. I solved a serious housekeeping problem for me: I'm a homemaker so housekeeping is what I do. Anyway, I live in Floridy and Floridy is big on using tile (I suppose it's more useful and easier to clean after storms and hurricanes). The place (that is now our current home) we found before we moved in installed brand new tile. It was a sweet deal for sure. We were excited because our children have allergies to the Earth and carpet is not a worthy alternative for them, BUT tile. . . T-I-L-E has proven to be a large magnetic flesh-seeking thorn in my side. Actually, no. Tile is wonderful. It's smooth, it looks all matte and uniform and cleans up real nice with a mop or Swiffer. It's actually that lovely material (read, substance from the Underworld) that contractors the world over insist on putting between tiles without sealing it called grout. I know it's a necessary evil otherwise the tile would fall apart. But really. The name. Who came up with that? No, really. I mean look at the name: GrrrrOUT! Say it to yourself a few times out loud. . . . I'll wait. . . . Doesn't it make you think of gravel in your mouth or sand in your throat? Or Aunt-So-and-So's Thanksgiving turkey? Well? Alright, I know, I'm digressing. The point of the matter is: Grout must be sealed in order for you not to obtain a great reward of paydirt in between your lovely tiles. Okay, now for the point of this story/rant. I can never help but get a spiritual application to everything that happens in my life. I like to look at my tile floor as a representation of me, one of God's children. I work so hard to look so good on the outside and really we all do whether we believe in God or not. We like looking shiny/matte, uniform, and clean and cool on the outside. For the most part we are. But I couldn't help but notice how easy it is for grout (our inner man/life, you know, the stuff that holds it all together?) to get so filthy. It starts relatively slowly. Day after day we track in dirt (whatsoever it may be in our secret lives) and make messes and clean them up for the most part. I say for the most part because even if the floor is mopped everyday, if the floor is not sealed or sealed properly, the grout will stain even, or rather especially, with our best efforts to clean it up. The tile will look great and clean and nice but the grout is a hot mess. The dirt will build up until the original grout color isn't even discernible. No matter how much I cleaned the tiles I couldn't feel at rest with my floor, because the total picture wasn't right. The floor just didn't feel clean because the grout wasn't exactly clean. So as far as I was concerned the floor wasn't really clean. Mopping and Swiffing didn't help. The dirt was just allowed to layer more evenly. My floor needed so much more to really be clean and it wasn't an easy task. I did discover, however, it was a simple task. I have been Spring Cleaning (since April) and will probably continue on through Summer and Fall (I'm leaving Winter open to the possibilities too), and went to get supplies at Wal-Mart. I came upon the display of the mops and brooms and sweepers and all the neat little accessories for floor maintenance. After perusing the floor sweepers, what did my little eyes behold? Get this, a grout brush for $1.18. A grout brush? Really? You mean they actually make those? There are others out there who deal with filthy grout as well? And they cost so little? I beamed and my heart welled up with joy as I bought two (one for each of my older boys--Children truly are a gift from the Lord!) and I declared "Boys, we're going to clean the grout today!" They were a little bored with that idea until I let them pick out their own spray bottles so that they could "shoot" the dirt. Once we got home, we got to work immediately after the boys were done stalling with their various endeavors ("I've gotta pee/poo!" "I need a snack!" "Me too!" "I'm tired, Mom. . ." "Yeah, so am I. . .") and I discovered that the solution to my problems was literally just around the corner. Two grout brushes and two bottles of "solution" later, I was gazing at floors that my husband, my children and I thought were long time dead and gone. It's the same with God. He wants to clean up (our grout was dirty before the tile was laid) and maintain our inner man and "seal" it with His very own Life and Presence. We, either through our ignorance or our negligence think we are to clean up the mess with our best ideas (giving more, doing more things for others, being a "good" person, counting church attendance points, or comparing our grout to someonelse's), but God wants none of that. He is looking for us to allow Him to take the Grout brush (His Body/Sacrifice) and apply His Cleaning Solution (His Blood) to our dirty lives and he will soak us (let His Word get into us) and scrub us (sanctify or set us apart from the stuff that dirties us so easily) and then wipe away all the mess that we try to hold on to for years and years (strongholds). And sometimes we're stubborn and we have to have that treatment re-applied because we run from the process and don't let God have His full way with us. But when He's done, really, really done (Hallelujah!), that floor looks brand-spankin' new! And just so we don't have that kind of build up on our floor again, we receive a sealing (God's beautiful Spirit on us and in us) and there is no way that dirt and grime will penetrate when God has done the sealing! I look at my floor now and I can't help but be thankful to God for the simple things. It's simple to let God be God in your life. What's complex is not understanding that we can't worry about the process He's using to cleanse us. We need to let Him be the professional! It's a tried and true method that He has used on countless other floors and unless we let him do what He is more than qualified to do, we run the risk of receiving a treatment that is either non-existent or shabby. God just doesn't do ugly! I hope you are able to appreciate my little diversion. I feel pretty sure that I wrote it for someone who needed to hear that today. Whoever you are, I want you to know that what God is doing in you is "Already, Alright!" God Bless You!

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