There must be some law…. Some strange force of the universe….
One where, if someone shows up on my doorstep, my house will, without a doubt, be the WORST it has ever been…. Ever.
Like… forget the 30 other days of the month that the house is neat and kept and you have got your junk together.
No. If someone knocks on my door…. It would be the day that I cleaned out the car and had all the contents in the kitchen to sort. It would be the day when the dishwasher was broken and I pulled all the dirty dishes out so I could take a look at it and try to fix it myself. It would be the day that I knocked over a deep fryer and sent tidal waves of oil flying into the carpet…. It would be the day Zane catapulted the contents of his cup into my hair forcing me to take a mid-day shower resulting in towel-head-fashion at the time of this knock. It would be the day that my son had to have three baths…. One for playing in the pond of oil I was working on…. Two for letting the water out, pooping, and then dancing in it. It would be the day that I was bravely kicking my soda habit to the curb and trying to nap off a killer withdrawal headache instead of folding the laundry. It would be the day when my porch looked like a lumber yard because I had not had a chance to neatly stack the pallets my husband got for my projects. It would be the day when my characteristically mellow son was abnormally hyper, destructive and frenetic, and trashing circles around me while I cleaned.
It would be the day that I stood and took one long careful look around me and gave up.
Every. Square. Inch.
Every part of my house and day was in shambles and this day had been nothing but a nightmare from the moment I cracked one eye open and…
I just couldn’t deal with it.
I surrendered for the day.
I decided I would face it tomorrow.
Sometimes you have to do that, ya know?
I’m sure you agree.
Knock knock knock….
Imagine my utter defeat at this moment.
The. One. Day.
The single solitary day that you just threw up your hands up and waved a flag of surrender….
That is the day someone will knock on your door.
You know…. I heard that sound and I flew up off of that couch like my skirt was on fire.
And I did the only thing any sane person would do.
Yes. Hid. Like…. Skedaddled my tubby self to the bedroom like it was the cleft of the rock.
Knock knock knock knock knock.
Well… that confirmed it wasn’t the UPS man. They never knock twice.
I stood patiently in the room, confident they would give up quickly.
Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock. “BECKY!”
I can feel my heart racing because this one is persistent. And they know my name…..
I crept farther into the bedroom… walking ever-so-softly praying those loose boards would not creak…. I tiptoed to the window and peeked out the blinds.
Horror filled my soul.
I know the back of that head.
I have a pretty active imagination so… as my eyes darted from one disaster to the next, I stood stock still, scared to breathe, and my brain… bless it’s heart… It was blasting an array of emergency alarm sound effects with some pretty ominous suspense music in the background.
Knock knock knock knock knock knock……
I can see her pacing frantically around my porch.
She was here on a mission.
And then my phone was ringing…. And I could see her on the phone. And then I saw her turn like she was about to peek in the window.
This fat chick dove for cover behind the dresser.
Then a text message. “Hey Becky! Give me a call.”
This was getting serious.
She might start walking around the house and look in each window for me……
I crawled… yes….crawled…. To the bathroom and shut the door and tucked myself under the window.
I mean… this house was bad. REALLY bad.
And I had a towel on my head.
You better believe me when I say that I was ready to ride this one out.
This was a friend that had never seen our new house. She would want a full tour.
I was not about to answer that door.
I could hear Zane waking up from his nap and knew it was only a matter of time before he started ratting me out. That boy was about to blow my cover with his post-nap bellows.
Then my husband called. The blood rushed out of my face…. They called him at WORK??? I had no doubt that he already assured them I was home.
After answering the phone in hushed whispers, I learned why they were there and I finally realized that there was no way I was getting out of this one.
He sent them here to me.
I swallowed a giant lump in my throat.
The only way out now was through.
I hung up with Mark…. I regrouped.
I quickly combed my wet hair and braced myself.
They knocked again.
I answered the door.
They came in.
They wanted a tour and I struggled because I felt like I was showcasing a landfill. “And over here we have strewn clothes from Category 6 Hurricane, Zane. That smell is from a freak oil spill in the pantry. To the left, if you look carefully, you can see that’s a bedroom. No really… it is.” They were gracious and polite of course, but I couldn’t begin to imagine what was going through their minds… Lazy… negligent… bum…
They saw my house.
They saw my house at its absolute very worst.
It’s every woman’s worst nightmare.
After they left… I cried.
I was angry with myself.
I was humiliated and ashamed.
I sat down and beat myself silly.
You’re a failure Becky. You can’t get anything right. Look at you… your entire role in this world is to stay at home and keep a house and you can’t even do that. You’re a terrible wife. A terrible Mom. A terrible human.
And then…. All the sudden…
Knock knock knock….
The Lord showed up to speak to my heart.
I opened the door.
While I was fixated on everything that was wrong… he steered me to some of the things that were right. I spent the morning slow and clumsy from caffeine withdrawal, but the Lord reminded me that my husband had wrapped me in his arms today and told me he was proud of me for eliminating it. And while I was beating myself up over the freak heap of dishes He gently pointed out that Mark and Zane had two fully prepared meals in the space of 4 hours this morning. And while I hadn’t got to the strewn messes Zane had made, my son was trying to count to three on his little fingers because I spent time teaching him that. And when he crawled up in my lap requesting a song by shouting “BU-BBA- Giiiiiiig!” and rolling his arms, I set everything I was doing aside to give him several rounds of it along with my undivided attention.
You know what I realized?
Behind that door… it’s not always a mess.
Behind that door there are successes too. A happy husband. A healthy boy. A heart that is committed to find ways to improve. An growing list of good habits that I’ve pushed myself to possess. A home that is precious and loved and usually neat.
And you know….
Mark and I… we open that door dozens of times a day…
Behind it… we both get on our hands and knees and chase a giggling boy. We rough and tumble and tell stupid jokes. We cuddle on the couch and snort while we watch stupid prank videos. Behind that door is a place we never walk out of without a kiss, a prayer, and an “I love you.” It’s here where, once one of us puts the key in the lock, we know we are a threshold away from a giant welcoming hug, a listening ear, and a mischievous grin.
I realized this.
That yes… an unexpected knock on an untimely day…. it will highlight the struggles. It will magnify the failures and shed a blinding light on all of your disappointing shortcomings…
But if that isn’t what your family expects when they are turning the key….
Then those flukes and flaws…. They are such a ridiculously small fragment of the bigger picture.
If the people you love know that they will open that door and find everything they love and all that is right in the world…
Well Mama…. I’d say you’re doing a pretty stinking good job.