If Chuck-E-Cheese would not cost me a small fortune both in game tokens and hand-sanitizer, I would take my kids there from sheer nostalgia. I used to love skee ball, and race car games, and tickets and Chinese yo-yos. And I really loved whack-a-mole. Ask my dad about my quick hands. I could nail those suckers as fast as I could pinch my sister without getting caught.
I find that I am not nearly so skilled at real life whack-a-mole however. No matter which need I am beating down another one seems to pop up elsewhere. Is my house clean? School is probably not done and I’m over budget on take-out. Am I helping a friend? Doubtless, I haven’t called my sister in a month and my kids have had too much screen time. Am I teaching a class well? We’ve likely skipped date night and I am sleeping in.
For a while I react by whacking faster, harder, and with reckless abandon . Everyone knows indecision spells doom and at least I’m hitting something, right? While this strategy may work for little felt-covered, metal moles that indiscriminately give tickets, the needs of real life need prioritizing.
Last weekend during a cleaning spree, I ended up crying on the closet floor over crayon on the wall and a few extra piles of laundry. And when I say crying, I don’t mean sweet drops of lamentation. Think angry and ugly. I gurgled out to Chris some parody of the Lego theme song, “Everything is awful! I don’t want my life to consist of picking up everyone else’s messes!”
But the man is brave, I tell you, borderline reckless. He likes to call it hugging the porcupine. The problem wasn’t really just the crayon and the laundry, it was perfectionism, and exhaustion, and derailed expectations. So he took a few stabs in the nose and came in close. His admonition was something like: Everything is decidedly NOT awful. Count your blessings. Look around at what the Lord is doing in this family. Be thankful. This mess is the mess of blessing. We’re overwhelmed because we can’t do it all. Good. We only do anything in the strength of the Lord anyway, and here we’re all the more aware of our need. The mess is not the measure of the Lord’s pleasure with you.
As we careen along the road to glory, it’s going to get messy. We’re not going to hit his agenda and ours. It will take faith to believe that we’re not missing out- that this adventure into the mundane and mire is really the path to perfection and purity. The good news for closet criers is that Christ himself is in the business of cleaning up other people’s messes, including mine. And it was a bloody business to do so. We get to follow our Master- now that’s a privilege .