They look harmless enough, don't they? Three simple black kitchen stools, not fussy or fancy, purchased at Target and assembled by my husband. How could three simple stools cause so much angst?
I'll tell you why.
Because my son Rowan can make crumbs from a stick of gum.
I clean these chairs between two and ten times a day.This is where the boys eat breakfast and lunch and sometimes dinner. This is where they munch Ritz crackers and Teddy Grahams and pistachio nuts. This is where they slurp Gogurt.
This is where they do crafts – projects with glue and sequins and molding clay and Play-Doh. This is where they make collages and paint pictures and decorate sugar cookies.
These stools, these three simple stools and this counter, are the center upon which our household revolves.
After each meal, snack, project and cookie-decorating fandango, I wipe down the chairs and the counter. I squeeze the moist sponge between spindles, push Saltine crumbs and Chex squares off the seat into cupped palm. I wipe away the debris of daily living and wash it down sink.
And then, an hour or two later, I repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
The Benedictines remind me that holy experiences aren’t found only in church on Sunday morning. They tell me that holy is all around us, in the mundane, in the everyday. Yes even in oatmeal glumps and NutriGrain smears.
Listen for God, listen to God, the Benedictines instruct – not just in church, not just in your quiet time with the Bible, but always, in everything.
This is hard. I see God in the flash of orange Oriole or in the magestic peak, but I miss him in the daily grind, in the drudgery of folding frayed dish towels, in the monotony of wiping the grease-spattered stove and the sticky fridge.
But he is there, too. He is everywhere.
Author Tony Woodlief writes about the home as a sacred place in his book Somewhere More Holy:
In the early days when community was richer and faith was deeper, a new home would be blessed and its doorsills anointed with oil, or honey, or blood. Before the explosion of churches, some homes even had altars…the first church in the Abrahamic faiths, in other words, was home. God chose to live among his people. Home, in this earlier understanding, was more than a venue for eating and sleeping; it was a holy place.
Somewhere along the way we forgot this. We began to think that God was out there – in heaven, a sunset, and ornate temple, a megachurch. We forgot that he has always come to where we are, to dwell with us.
He's right. I forget this. I forget this a lot. I find myself looking far and wide for God – in the pretty and picturesque – instead of in the daily slog, in the gritty here and now.
But I will say this: sometimes I think about God as I wipe those seats and that counter. Sometimes I remember that he dwells with me, perched on the crumby kitchen stool, next to the sticky fridge.
"There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not recognize him." Frederick Buechner
Do you see your home as holy, as a sacred place?
I'm linking with Cheryl for her True Vine Challenge, in which she is living out the meaning of abide. Check out her brand-new community!
Welcome to the "Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday" community, a place where we share what we are hearing from God and his Word.
If you're here for the first time, click here for more information. Please include the Hear It, Use It button (grab the code below) or a link in your post, so your readers know where to find the community if they want to join in -- thank you!
Please also try to visit and leave some friendly encouragement in the comment box of at least one other Hear It, Use It participant. And if you want to tweet about the community, please use the #HearItUseIt hashtag.
Thank you -- I am so grateful to have you here!