It's beautiful here in Georgia today. The heatwave of the last couple months has finally broken and the blistering oppression of the sun has softened into a gentle enveloping warmth. I had almost forgotten what a friend it's embrace can be. Last night's long awaited rains have left everything misty, and bushes sparkle with drying raindrops. On days like today, it's hard for me to imagine that anyone could question the existence of God. My own heart reaches for someone to thank for the beauty that seems suddenly intrinsic in everything around me. And I offer a private benediction to my Father, one that is long past due. In the calm of this morning, the things I am thankful for suddenly seem limitless. A list too long to number.
I come inside to sit at my kitchen table, as I do every morning. Wrapping my hands around the warmth of my favorite coffee cup I look wearily at the crumbs and spills trailed across the table. The worship of the moment before begins to fade as I feel a well-known irritation start to creep into my consciousness.
Suddenly I am hit with a pang of awareness and remorse at the grumbling I engage in each day.
How can I sit at this table each morning and see the crumbs waiting to be cleaned, and not the five other seats that will, later that day, be filled by people I love? People (my husband, my children) I prayed for long before we ever met. Each of them an answer to a prayer. How can I walk into this kitchen and grumble? How is it I see only the peeling wallpaper and dirty cabinets and not notice that everywhere, stashed in every nook and corner are fragments of the love my life is full of:
A coffeemaker my mother gave me for Christmas even though it was over her budget. Because I really wanted it.
A highchair where my two babies ate each meal. Milestones were reached in that chair and some may yet be.
A pottery bowl on my counter, carried back from Germany by my dearest friend when she came back home where she belonged.
A fridge wallpapered with photographs of smiling friends, and children. Beautiful children, I have been blessed enough to love. And artwork drawn by little people with clumsy hands. And hearts still too young to know hate or unforgiveness.
Wineglasses I bought to host a celebration for a friend who just found out she would be a mother.
A little indoor grill my husband, my lover, my harbor, uses to make his lunch every single day.
A needlepoint picture it took my friend two years to make, just for me.
Dishes waiting to be washed from a meal I never once had to worry would be sufficient to feed my family.
A calendar, overflowing with appointments, lunch dates, meetings, practices and rehearsals, each of them representing, a passion, a need, a desire, a talent of the people who carry my heart in their pockets.
And everywhere I look, greasy grey smudges. A finger here. A palm there. By the entryway door an entire hand has left it's mark. A tiny hand. One I hold so often in my own because it's too small to walk alone.
Crumbs from a late night snack my daughter ate with her friend, while they giggled together; and I watched them with a smile and the wistful memory of the unbridled joy of being eleven.
Lord forgive me for walking into this room. This sanctum of our family. This shrine to the chaotic beauty you have filled our lives with, and seeing only crumbs.