Posted by: karanoel | January 7, 2022

The revealing light

Happy new year! It sure has been a while since I’ve been out here in my beloved shed with computer in hand to try to get some words down. December was crazy, as usual, with Christmas-related projects and gatherings, birthdays, my (10th) anniversary. My positive covid test before Christmas derailed some of our plans, but fortunately my case was extremely mild and we managed to adjust our expectations and have a very sweet, appropriately distanced time together. I have to admit, though, that I’m always thrilled when the holidays are over; when the parties are finished, the decorations are put away and we get to move into a fresh, clean, uncluttered new year. Mmmhmm just love it. 

Speaking of fresh and clean, I had thought I was doing a pretty good job keeping our hardwood floors fairly spotless. Not only was Rita (our Roomba) back in commission to help me with the daily dust assaults, but I faithfully swept every visible speck in the main areas each evening, especially the kitchen which always hosts a deconstructed version of whatever I’ve made for dinner and the constantly used back door which allows all manner of dirt inside.

I was doing my part and it certainly looked clean. But then one day, I opened the back door when the sun was in just the right spot to stream its light onto my kitchen floor. “Holy cow!,” I thought. “How could it possibly be that filthy?” It looked like I hadn’t swept in weeks. If the sun didn’t feel so good and warm and hopeful, I would have slammed that door shut and pretended I hadn’t seen that disconcerting collection of dust, dirt and random fuzzy things lurking on my “clean” floor.

Instead I decided to double down on my cleaning. Clearly, I wasn’t doing quite as great a job as I thought. So I got to business that week, sweeping far more thoroughly than before, making sure to cover every spot more than once, even the parts that already looked clean. One day I decided to make it truly spotless. Rita led the charge, followed by my broom on every square inch of that expansive floor and then a very aggressive mopping to top things off. I looked down at those planks, delighted with the results of my efforts. 

I had barely finished admiring my work when someone dared to open the back door and let that golden light shine in. Would you believe that it still didn’t look spotless? It was certainly an improvement on my previous efforts and I wouldn’t say it looked filthy, but after all that work, it was pretty darn disheartening. If I didn’t think it would be really gross to abandon all attempts at cleanliness, I might have thrown down my broom and mop right then and there. 

That’s when I decided that perfection probably wasn’t in the cards – and didn’t really need to be. After all, this house is meant to serve us, not the other way around. I will continue to do my best, which is all I can do… but it’s probably wise to do so in daylight hours, with the door wide open when possible, so there are no surprises. 

So that’s happily settled, but it made me think of how easy it is to believe in our own goodness, especially when we are doing the work of being a good person and getting rid of all the visible dirt so our lives look clean. If we are never exposed to the light, we could last a lifetime thinking our goodness is true, oblivious to all the dust, dirt and general filth thriving in the dimness… and probably judging others whose lives don’t look as clean as ours. Even though I’ve had a history that involves being as messy as a human being can get, I can still be so guilty of this. 

So what happens when the door is opened and that pure, golden light streams in to reveal the dirt that remains despite our efforts? Slam it shut so we don’t have to deal with the unpleasant reality? Slump in defeat and throw in the towel because we realize we will never be good enough? Double down on our efforts to change?

I’ve done all of these things. But I’ve begun to realize that the light of truth is the greatest gift we will ever receive. To understand that we can’t get ourselves totally clean or be truly good (except in comparison to others or to what we were or to how bad we could be) is the starting point of freedom. It is where we throw off the burden of self-righteousness with all of its performance, striving and comparison; where we lay down our pride and recognize our need for a savior; where we find rest and wholeness in the radiating warmth of God’s rays. Sure, we will continue to do our best… by living in the light of His goodness, not our own, which He has so generously bestowed upon us. I can’t imagine a better way to live.


Responses

  1. Young lady, you really know how to get down to business. Your parables are always rich AND real. Way to go once again! You are a practical theologian!

    • Never thought of them as parables before… I like that! As always, thank you Paul! xoxo

  2. I love this Kara! It really spoke to me and is causing me to think about where I am trying to “appear” clean and pure in my own life instead of resting in the purifying love of my Savior 🤍 hope you and your family are doing well! Thanks for this beautiful post

    • Thank you so much, Terry! You encapsulated the post so beautifully. 💕 Yes we are doing well… hope you are too!


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