Grandma and I have always wondered about those folks who talk about how difficult it was to deal with children as they went thought the various stages of growing up. We’ve heard about the terrible twos and the difficult teens, but somehow they never seemed to apply to us. I think we both experienced both periods of child-rearing, but thought it was part of the process and, hopefully, they were only temporary.
In fact, we look back on those days as being the most rewarding days of our lives. Of course, things always look different in the light of the years that have passed since we were in the child-raising mode. Time has a way of dulling the sharp edges of unpleasant experiences and in many cases, we tend to remember only the good experiences.
One of the big issues in our home was neatness. Grandma was a neatness fanatic. If there is such a thing as reincarnation she would live her next life as a vacuum cleaner. To her, a cluttered house was an indication of a life that was not quite in order.
Our four daughters considered their individual bedrooms their personal domains. In other words, they thought they should be able to do what they wanted to do inside of their four walls. “After all,” they would cry, “isn’t this my room?”
Grandma’s biggest concern was unmade beds… they were supposed to be made up when you got out of them. Clothes on the floor? You were supposed to hang them up or put them away when you took them off. Cluttered bathrooms? You were supposed to put the makeup paraphernalia back in the vanity drawers when you were finished with it. Grandma’s concerns were valid. In her mind, if they didn’t practice neatness at home what kind of pigsty would they live in after they left home?
One day, in a discussion with a friend about the messy bedrooms our friend gave grandma a revolutionary piece of advice. “Why don’t you shut the doors to their bedrooms?” she asked, “then you won’t see the mess.” Simple enough, right? Wrong! After thinking about it a bit grandma replied, “But, even though the door is closed, I will know,” she replied.
During our many years together there have been some rare occasions when I would unwittingly suggest something was so unimportant that disregarding it would be the simplest thing to do and, certainly, the easiest. Grandma would always reply, “But, I will know.”
Our lives are like those bedrooms. We clutter them up and then shut the door on the things we don’t like to see… pretending they aren’t there. It is easy to do that with what we call sin. If we don’t firmly choose to always do the right things in life then we clutter up our minds with sin, one on top of another, until the pile gets too ugly to look at, then we shut the door to that part of our being. But, like cluttered bedrooms, we always know what is behind the closed door.
Each of us chooses how we want to live our lives. We may not have control over everything in our lives but, we can choose to open the door and clean out the garbage that has accumulated, or we can choose not to. God has made it easy for us to do a thorough house-cleaning. He has even given us directions. The Bible says if we confess our sins God is sure to forgive us and he will remember our sins no more. What more could we ask? Once we have cleaned out our hearts and minds we can then open wide the doors and let his light illuminate every part of our lives.
Grandma and I have learned over the years that God’s promises are true. We know from experience. His ways always work out best for us. But, for me, I’m still not sure about making up the bed.