Friday, April 3, 2009

Clean Up Duty

Tucker made quite a mess. Not the worst ever, but there were lots of toys all over the living room floor. Blocks, trucks, books, happy meal treasures... you can probably picture that scene without my full detailed report.

I asked him to clean it up before lunchtime. He didn't argue (which was refreshing), but he didn't jump in (which was not surprising). He took inventory of the room, and he seemed overwhelmed by the task at hand.

"Mommy, you help me please?"

"No way, dude. You made this mess. It's all yours. You got all of these toys out, and you know where they go. You know what you need to do. Now get to it."

Sure, I could help. But who would learn the lesson then? Yes, I could whip this room back into shape in no time, since I have become rather masterful at decluttering. (Since I am also highly skilled at cluttering. The two skills feed each other.) From my aerial view, I could tell just what needed to go where, and I could have multitasked and straightened things to my liking. Much like Mary Poppins.

(I am like her in many ways. Especially with my constant singing and my fond relationships with domestic birds outside my window.)

I assured him that he was not only capable, but required. Still, no springing to action. He actually seemed rather paralyzed by it all, not sure where to start. But I felt insistent: now was the time for natural consequences. Get to it, kiddo.

Revelations and insight do not always strike me in the moment... but this time they sure did.

What if God responded that way, to my daily messes and concerns? From his perspective, he can see just what to do, what needs to happen, and how to align the plan. All the while, I remain paralyzed, unsure of where to start. He could easily say, "No way, kiddo. You made this mess. You clean it up. And get to it." In his goodness, he doesn't.

But then again, and also in his goodness, maybe he does sometimes. Maybe sometimes he lets me sit in the mess I've made and feel the consequences of my choices. Maybe he doesn't always rush to clean it all up, even though he could. He's patient with my messes, but he also hands me my shovel and lets me dive in to clean up the muck right alongside him.

In the end, Tuck and I worked together to put his toys away. I won't always make that decision, but I did that day.

Especially since I could instantly think of a few ways God was actively doing the same for me.

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