Crystal clear clarity can hit us in the most interesting of moments. Like the mornings I find myself running late, and rush from my bedroom to find my old Pomeranian had an accident at the top of the stairs. This usually brings an odd and surprising clarity to me. I can’t just leave it. I can’t. In the nine hours that I’m gone, it could soak into the fibers of the carpet, mingling so tightly that the fibers refuse to ever really let go. And the dog will know, revisiting the site again and again. And I’ll know, in the back of my mind, that the carpet is tainted. No matter how late I am, it demands to be cleaned.
Bent down, trying to hold the necklace I got from Target on the clearance rack, perched on the top stair, scrubbing with all my might in the 30 seconds I have to give. My youngest daughter appears from out of her room with sleepy eyes and squishy cheeks, needing hugs. She whispers a plea to stay home so we can watch House Hunters together. Oh, how I want to say yes. But duty calls. So does my bank account. And the parts of me that need to remember who I am outside the context of wife and mother. The call to serve others is strong and needed. I need this.
Still, I’m cleaning up pee. In my maxi dress and cardigan. In those moments, you can’t help but wonder where it all got off track. Does this ever happen to you? This wandering of the mind, the flashes to the high school graduation, the first day of college, and the day you moved into your first apartment. It all felt so promising, didn’t it? Like the skies were opening up with sweet sunshine, lighting up your world with the murmurs of what could be. All those years laid out before you, slathered in the giddiness of all the moments to come. They stand in stark contrast to the urine in the carpet, huh? Please tell me these striking moments happen to you too.
The only way to push past the could’ve, should’ve, would’ve is to tear it down. Burn it to the ground. If we don’t, the only option is to give way to a sad bitterness. The whole earth is heaving under the weight of millions of lives lost in the darkness as it takes the shape of addiction, adultery, anger-filled protests and violence. All that jaded displeasure and restlessness, falling into the voids of our hearts and searching for any kind of relief. What if the brokenness of generations past and those still to come could be alleviated by telling the lie of discontentment, “no” and saying, “yes” to hope?
What we lost in the fire can be found in the ashes. Like the tender coos of my freshly welcomed babies, the ones I never anticipated having. And the joy felt at work with people I love seeing every day, arms linked in an effort to tackle the tasks together. Or snuggling with that old dog who can’t hold his bladder. Those moments bear clarity too. They speak of a purpose designed for my life, one of many I will walk out. They weave themselves together with the times I find myself on the stairs in the dash of the morning, and paint the portrait of my allotted days here.
Don’t fall for the lie of discontentment. The skies are still open above you with the light that holds promise. It’s hard to see under the clouds of needy existence. But it’s there to be found, when we hope for things unseen.