Posted tagged ‘dirt’

Mud Prints

February 11, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 February 11, 2015

                                                  

I wear a red Nike shoes. The red stands out in a crowd of short people. They feel comfortable and are about as radical as I ever get. Perhaps that’s why people notice them so much, because they seem like a hood ornament on a guy who drives a seven year old Civic Hybrid.

My Nike’s get good traction, are very light, and easy to spot in my closet. But there’s one thing that bugs me about my pair of “reds.” It’s the bottom of my shoes. They announce where I’ve been, and leave tracks that look like an octopus has taken a stroll across our kitchen floor.

I can’t hide the mud prints! In the crevices of my shoes the dirt takes up temporary residence, and it doesn’t matter how much I stomp on them in the garage I still manage to “hold on” to some freeloaders until I come inside.

I’m sure that many of you are thinking to yourself, “Just take them off when you enter the house!” Sometimes I do, but at other times my common sense, time-efficient mind reminds me that taking them off would mean that I would have to put them back on when I exited again. That would cost me…what, thirty seconds?

And so I track the outdoors to the indoors. In case you are wondering, mud prints on the kitchen floor equal unhappy wife looking at me!

Where we’ve been leaves a trail as we walk to where we’re going. I can’t hide my past path when I stride across the kitchen floor.

There’s numerous stories in the Bible that give us a similar message. David couldn’t hide his adulterous affair with Bathsheba from Nathan. Ananias and Sapphire couldn’t hide their deception and greed from Peter. Jonah couldn’t hide his bitterness for the Ninevites from God. Our behavior and reactions too often give us up. People see the trail of our words that don’t match the footprints of our behavior.

One time quite a while ago I left a public restroom with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Unbeknownst to me I was communicating to everyone who passed me where i had just come from.

Now a days I always check my shoes, especially my red Nike’s, when I leave the john! Unfortunately, I’m not as discerning with our kitchen floor!

Growing Up Clean

June 16, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   June 16, 2014

 

                                    

 

There are some families who are well acquainted with dirt. It is welcomed into the house like the family dog, reclining wherever it pleases and shaking itself into a cloud of castoffs.

My family was different. Dirt, mud, and the other suspects were expected to stand at attention at the door and not advance from there. Our house was clean. The bald head of Mr. Clean was featured prominently in the closet, ready for action.

I wasn’t that into it! You might say that it was mandated to me to be clean. A bath at night, brushing my teeth, even cleaning my plate…those were like Biblical commandments. My underwear and socks always needed to be clean, also, because the threat of being in an accident and being found with dirty underwear was always a dreaded possibility. So every morning I had to make sure I put on a clean pair of Towncraft tighty-whities! My mom worked at Penney’s, so Towncraft was the only option for our family in those days.

My dad was clean…in a different way! Yes, his clothes were always neatly folded, but his cleanliness could be seen in tasks. When he sliced a tomato or an onion it was almost always a clean cut…a perfect slice ready to grace the top of one of his hamburgers. When he cleaned the grill it shone! The inside of the family car was always pristine. The lawnmower was seldom dusted with grass clippings, because Dad would keep it clean.

Mom was like an army sergeant inspecting the barracks. She would come in the living room right when the latest episode of Combat was at its tense climax and tell me that my room looked like a tornado had hit it. I was beg for a few minutes of “clean leave”, but would always be denied. Down the hallway I would run only to discover that the extent of the bedroom tornado damage was a bedspread slightly uneven in its slope down the side, and a closet door halfway open. To Mom “clean” was a state of utopia that could not be allowed even the hint of chaos.

My hair was clean…not from shampoo but rather from the barber. I was buzzed clean until I was in high school. Sometimes a few hairs in front were given amnesty, but the rest of my head resembled Mr. Clean.

When I look back on those days I realize that our family didn’t have much, but our house was always so spic and span we just thought our lack of clutter was because we were neat freaks.

Cleanliness was next to godliness, and our house was so clean we could touch godliness with a white glove!

Dirty Windshields

January 18, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      JANUARY 18, 2013

I was following an oversized SUV down the road the other day. A red light brought a halt to our drive for a few moments, and I noticed the back windshield was displaying the accumulated results of our recent period of cold, snow, and ice. It was caked over…like a double-layer kind of cake! In fact, it was so plastered with mud, slush, and ice that there was no way the driver could see anything behind him if he looked straight back.

Been there. Done that. I’m more conscientious of the outward appearance of my car than I am of the clothes I’m wearing. I don’t pretend to understand it. It must go back to my Kentucky roots with the old Ford truck my grandfather drove. Perhaps there was less dirt back in the 50’s, but it never seemed to be soiled at all. The only evidence of use was some bits of hay in the bed let over from taking a bale to the cattle.

But the back windshield of this SUV also had two words written into the grime.

“Clean me!”

When someone can see the words in the dirt you know the car wash is needed. Call it “automotive confession!” There needs to be a cleansing.

The amazing thing is that the build-up of debris usually takes a good amount of time, but a run through the car wash returns the shine in just a few moments.

Yesterday the first part of Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey aired. He admitted to doping during his cycling career, which included seven consecutive Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005. Back in those days we all cheered for Lance to win. He had come through testicular cancer. He had battled back. It was a story made for the movies, a “feel good” moment! We didn’t want to believe it when there were accusations about him. Most of us shook it off as poor European losers jealous of the American.

There was a film forming on the back windshield of the story, but we mistook it for cloudy conditions or the glare of the sun in our eyes.

I obviously don’t know Lance Armstrong, but I wonder about carrying the sin around for so many years. How did he cope? How was he able to continually deny any wrongdoing? Did it become easier to live the lie? Did layer get caked upon layer to where it just became easier not to notice?

My hope is that the confession, the cleansing, will allow him to begin a new life. I’m sure he will be the butt of many jokes, ridicule, and cruel remarks. Denial of wrongdoing for so long has that as a one of it’s repercussions, but perhaps he will no longer be afraid to look out of his back windshield.

We live in a culture that, if you will, is eager to see the dirt on someone in front of us while, at the same time, pretending to be blind to what it sticking to our backs.

The amazing thing about the Gospel is grace. Grace asks “can I help you clean up the mess?” Grace knows that none of us are dirt-resistant. Grace is not okay with sin, and yet knows that each one of us has to deal with sin.

I grieve for Lance Armstrong, but I grieve even more for those who can’t see their own back windshields.