Driving Miss Crazy

June 21, 2005

As I drove down the road today, I passed a home with a pile of garbage at the edge of the driveway in preparation for trash day. Perched atop the waste pile was a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe looking a little sad without its front wheels. It’s funny how a discarded toy can send me down memory lane.

Suddenly five or six years melted away. I could see my son, now nine, small enough to fit in a little self-pedaled car. He had a regular trek, navigating his vehicle around the circuit of the kitchen, family and living room. The day I’m remembering, I must have gone upstairs to put his baby sister down for a nap. He met me at the bottom of the stairs with his round smiling face and sweet baby voice. “Mom! Guess what! The dog pooped on the floor, and I drove through it with my car. But don’t worry, I cleaned it up!” He grinned proudly at his accomplishment.

I forced a smile and went to look. The poop that he had smeared across the dining room carpet with the wheels of his Cozy Coupe was now completely ground in by his “clean up job.” For once, by God’s grace, I didn’t get mad and yell; I was able to appreciate that he was trying to help. It took me a long time to clean up the carpet, the car and the cloths he used to wipe up the smears. I’d like to think I was able to see the humor then; I know for a fact I can see it now. In fact, when I reminded the kids (now eight and nine) about the incident we had a hearty laugh.

As I write this down, I wonder how often I, like my son, have managed to smear poo all over the place. Sometimes I do it because I’m a sinner living in a sinful world–just like a pig in mud. Sometimes, though, I’m trying to clean up the mistakes I’ve made–of relationships, plans, you name it. I have to hope that when I do it to be helpful–mess up as I try to clean up–that God looks at me with the same patience and amusement that I felt for my son that day. Maybe someday He and I will look back on the messes and the attempted cleanup and laugh. He’s probably already laughing, but I hope then to be able to laugh with Him.

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