When the ladies group ended and I left that night, I had to push down this wild envy that took over my heart. Glistening floors. They had sparkled at me through the meeting and I had to keep pulling my attention back to the subject at hand. Oh, how I desired to have such beautifully clean floors.
I was determined to do a better job at this particular chore. How did they get so dirty anyway? I didn’t even have children!
The next morning, after barn chores, I set to scrubbing. When I was done I felt a measure of satisfaction. Now, just to maintain!
It wasn’t too many minutes later that a knock sounded at the door. An older neighbor was stopping by to see my husband so I invited him in and turned to go back to washing dishes.
“Come in,” my husband said, “have a seat.”
“No, no,” the man answered, “I don’t want to get your wife’s floor dirty.”
I heard myself saying, “Oh, my! Don’t worry about floors. They clean up.” And it dawned on me; this was how my floors got dirty.
Five different men came through my kitchen that morning. None of them took off their big lace-up work boots. All of them drank a cup or two of coffee. They all heard the gospel, right there at my kitchen table while mud and snow dripped off their boots.
My husband’s words painted pictures of a dirty messy cross and my floors were graced with muddy footprints.
One man turned to me as he left, “Sorry about your floors, ma’am.”
I shrugged and smiled, “No big deal. They’re just floors. Made to walk on.” And I believed it.
But later is occurred to me that maybe they were more than that. Maybe my floors were something I could use to extend grace. These men who trudge through mud and muck, working from sun-up to sun-down—don’t they need grace, just as I do? And I can offer it by allowing them to keep their boots on. And maybe, as I am wiping up mud after they are gone, this, for me, is a version of washing feet?
Sometimes I still flush in embarrassment when women are there, when I imagine I see a disapproving glance from the corner of an eye. I want everyone to think that I’m put-together and capable of everything.
But I’m not.
I can’t maintain glistening floors and an atmosphere of grace to the men that my husband is called to share the gospel with.
Maybe someday. But not today.
So for now; I make pots of coffee, offer sugar and creamer and pray unceasingly for the souls at my kitchen table. And my dirty floors don’t cause me to be envious anymore.
I kind of like them, actually.