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Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had the misfortune to have to clean up wet Rice Krispies but if not, I’ll offer this piece of advice: you cannot sweep them up, you cannot vacuum them up, you cannot wipe them up. No, Rice Krispies turn to a gluey substance which adheres to whatever surface it finds and instead of cleaning them up by those attempts, you only smear them. Ask me how I know. No, no, instead, you must pick them up one at a time, bit by bit, and only then can you wash the floor properly. Unless you want your feet to stick to the floor or you wish to burn the house down (which I considered for a moment), you must pick up every single Rice Krispie individually and only then wash the floor.
I began to get angry as I picked up those Rice Krispies. Oh, properly angry! Not at the tinies who created the mess – those messes can’t be helped when one is tiny, they’re part of the deal – but rather at the fact that this was my life. This was just one more daily indignity to the joyous and difficult and yet sometimes monotonous unending routine of caring for small children.
I muttered to myself under that kitchen table about how I was too smart for this. Oh, I did: I was too special for this! Surely someone else could do this work, someone else should be doing this work! After all, I was creative and capable! I was well educated! I used to manage budgets of $14 million dollars! I used to wear high heels and create marketing campaigns! Then my repressed struggling artist side entered the dialogue and ranted quietly about how I was meant to be writing! I was meant to have creative space to, well, create! Who could create anything or write anything while in the middle of diapers and bath times and housework? I am too creative for this! I am meant to be a writer not a maid!
I bet C.S. Lewis never had to clean up cereal.
And then that little evangelical hero complex in me joined the chorus: I was meant to change the world! I was meant to be someone! To lead! To be set apart! To tell people about Jesus, right? To be a hero in the kingdom of God! And instead here I was doing menial work that was contributing nothing to the world.
It would be funny if I hadn’t actually believed the lie that I was too special, too holy, too smart, too good, too much altogether, to pick up Rice Krispies in my own kitchen.
My husband went through similar feelings when he left full-time vocational ministry and then found himself driving a white work van with a phone number on the side, doing physical labour to pay our bills, saving for one Tim Horton’s coffee (double-double) a week. In addition to the actual difficulty of the work itself, there was his ongoing internal monologue about how this wasn’t good enough. This wasn’t special enough. How he was supposed to be more or better, how this kind of work wasn’t really contributing to the Kingdom of God, how he was failing because he was here.
Perhaps it isn’t any wonder why we struggled. We had been fed a steady diet for years that we were meant to change the world, to be heroes, to be different than the rest of the world, to be radical, to prepare only for the mountaintop! Exclamation points!
And when we found ourselves in adulthood with the truth that there are diapers to change and bills to pay, toilets to clean and laundry to fold, time cards to punch and late nights to work, it felt too humble and too altogether ordinary to possibly be God’s will for us.
As I was picking up those Rice Krispies, I had a sudden thought that came zinging into my self-important rant, so unlooked-for that it must only have been the Spirit of God breaking through.
Do you think God is… [read the full post here]