I used to enjoy being left behind before children, when Mike gallavented with youth groups, to read, and think, and be still. But that was a decade and a half ago, and although I remember who she was back then, I don't really know her anymore. Distance measured in time made us strangers, surprising strangers.
I washed the dishes before I left for work: a saucepan from steamed milk for my coffee, two spoons, and last night's water glass. They looked lonely in the sink and I couldn't bear it, so I rinsed warm suds, and left the sink a stark empty. Victory.
My goal, every other morning, all day long, as long as I can remember, is to somehow win the battle of mounting dirty dishes in a perpetually cluttered kitchen. Today, there's easy victory before 7:30 am.
The chaos and clutter, my supposed opponent all these years, today surprises me as an old friend, one I miss seeing in my empty sink. I look around at my achieved victory, the kitchen table pristine, the quiet washing machine.
Victory is empty.
I never knew it would be. I can't wait until my full life returns in stuffed suitcases, sunburns, and revived spirits to fill my home, my washing machine, with the mess that is my life.
I think I prefer defeat, full as it is, over empty victory—any day and every day.
I can only wonder if I will still embrace defeat and stop fighting the age-old battle once they get home. Somehow, I doubt it.
Lord, please don't let me get used to this clean house. Amen.