My Dirt

This weekend has afforded my family and me an opportunity to do a rare bit of traveling. Our excursion took us from our usual territory just outside Philadelphia up the eastern seaboard to Cape Cod. I love to travel—to see new places, to fight my way through the unexpected adventures that always come up, no matter how well we plan.

When we arrived in the Cape, we checked into our little motel, which was a cozy, unassuming place. I don’t need fancy. The trouble is, I guess I’m a little bit of a germaphobe when it comes to hotels. We’ve all heard the stories about what kinds of microorganisms lurk in bedspreads. (I found it really ironic that Mike Rowe, the host of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” tends to wrap up hotel bedcoverings in whatever spare linens he can find and won’t sleep with such a bedspread on his bed. If a dude whose entire living depends upon going places and experiencing disgusting work environments has a thing about bedspread microbes…but enough of this week’s digression.) Anyway, back to our motel. When we arrived here, just like I do anytime we show up at a pay-per-day type of accommodation, I can’t help but take a sniff of the air. Is that mold? I look at the bathroom. Has water gotten into the joints and cracks? Is it at all grimy? Even if I don’t see any visible grime (which I rarely have) I can’t help but wonder if it’s lurking in some clever, disguised way.

The great irony in all of this: if you came to stay in my home unannounced, you wouldn’t find it clean. My bathrooms are no where as well-scrubbed as any hotel shower I’ve ever used. And it occurs to me…this must be OK with me because I know whose dirt I’m dealing with in my own bathroom. Any grub that’s around came from people directly related to me either by birth or betrothal. Somehow, that makes the grubbiness un-appalling. But if it were a stranger’s dead skin cells making a ring in my bathtub? That would be different.

That whole set of truths makes me aware how we treat out own sin as opposed to how we regard sin that is close to us. We do a great job of making excuses for the sin in our lives, or telling ourselves that we’re working on it, so the residual film it leaves is OK. But sometimes aren’t we guilty of seeing sin in others and reacting to it like we would a filthy hotel shower? “Eeeew!” we’d say. “I’m not getting in there. Disgusting!”

My trip this weekend has challenged me not to lose the sense that my own lingering sins are still the filmy layer of scum that I should always have a fresh sense of needing to call upon the Savior to scrub away with whatever tools he feels are needed for the job. And when I encounter folks with similar levels of spiritual soap scum on their lives, I would do better to reach out to them, not to recoil.

And while I’m at it, maybe I ought to talk to somebody about my irrational concern about bedspreads.


P.S.- On an unrelated note, Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. Never underestimate the formative power you have over your children’s lives. And as for me, I am specifically thankful for the wonderful man I have in my life who never misses an opportunity to shepherd our own little flock. 

About Rebecca Minor

Rebecca P Minor draws perspective from her pursuit of various art forms, including writing, drawing, and music (singing mostly, though there was a time when a trombone figured in.) A 1997 graduate from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Becky earned a BFA in animation. Since then, she has worked as a character animator, a freelance artist, an art teacher, and most importantly, a wife to her husband Scott and mother of three boys. She is in the process of republishing her current body of work. The first installment of The Windrider Saga, Divine Summons, is available as an ebook novella on Amazon. She also has short stories available under the umbrella of The Windrider Canticles.

8 comments on “My Dirt

  1. My Dearest Becky,

    As for the bedspread issue, I find that carrying a can of lysol disinfectant around with me for toilets, showers and anything else,always makes me feel a little more at ease. Now on the subject of someone else’s sin, setting an example is the only way I know to show someone the way ,because if you try telling someone about their faults then they have an automatic knee jerk reaction to check you out. So instead of trying to change someone else, as you so eloquently put it, we need to check ourselves.

    • Ah, lysol. The great equalizer. 😀

      Seriously, though, thanks for your excellent underscore of my point. I’d gush more, but I’m typing on my phone while we sit in southern Connecticut traffic. (And no, I’m not driving.)

  2. I intended to write on here yesterday, but I was mentally aflutter and needed to regather myself before attempting any coherent thoughts. But how true what you say is, and how wise we are to remember it. How badly we need for believers to regard others’ (and our own) soap scum with that heavenly perspective instead of that ‘ew gross’. Christ may have been heartbroken by our condition, but never turned his nose up at a chance to minister to the diseased and the ostracized.

    • Thanks for joining me over here, even on Monday, Ruth. 🙂 And you are completely right…if we want to be Christ like, the job seems to indicate a degree of hanging with the ‘unclean.’ We best read ALL the job requirements, eh?

  3. Lysol ain’t the only great equalizer. We’re all sinners, too. hehe!
    Excellent thoughts. I’ll be sure to clean my house before you come to visit. 😉

    • Lol, Robynn…if I come to visit, you have full permission to have dust in every corner. Familiar life dirt somehow seems fine. It’s total strangers’ germs that are scary. Yes, that makes no sense, I agree. 🙂

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