I ate a huge piece of this today, at 7am, metaphorically speaking.
The cake I, Newspaper Mama, made for one of my photographer’s birthdays last night, did not survive the trek from the front door of the house to the front passenger seat of my car. At just the time when I should have been rolling through the Starbucks drive thru, my cake was rolling out of its pan, frosting side down, and flopping indecently onto my driver’s side upholstery. All of this, while my tumbler of water took it upon itself to tilt precariously and add to the carnage by spilling onto said seat. Great, not only is my coffee time now sacrificed to the funfetti frosting, but I’m going to arrive to 1st period with a wet bum.
At this point in my barely awake state, Scary Becka returned with the passion of a thousand strong men. I flung the offensive cake pan, ran huffing and puffing into the house, screaming, and began to bang my hands against the counters in protest. Mutterings of a profane sort emerged and a whole lot of smacking things, like paper towel containers, happened.
The mess itself was cleaned relatively quickly, but the mess in my heart wasn’t quite so easy to restore to its previous condition. I suppose its probably because the mess in my heart had been building for quite some time, just invisibly. It was as though in that ornery funfetti frosting lay all of my frustrations, stresses, sleeplessness, and resentment. Each little brightly colored sprinkle represented another ill: non-stop work (green), crazy student emails (yellow), demanding boss emails (orange), 160 needy high schoolers (pink), PapersOnPapersOnPapers to grade (blue), missed Jesus time (purple), missed gym time (more pink), missed blog time (more green), and I could go on. But, it all spread itself out as clearly and plainly as that white frosting stood out against my gray seats and seatbelt. It just wasn’t sweet like the frosting. It wasn’t sweet at all. It provoked bitterness and anger and self pity and victim mentality and it took all I had not to call in “sick” for the day so I could just have 8 hours to soak in my own misery.
Thankfully, I bit the bullet, and I drove my coffee-less state to work and I managed to survive until my prep period when work bestie and I escorted ourselves off campus to score some Starbucks, and the world made sense again. Thankfully I was gone this whole day because if I hadn’t been, I wouldn’t have come home to today’s biggest blessing.
Quite the opposite of a soiled cakey car, I opened the door to my house at 3pm and found a sparkling clean, shiny, lemony fresh home awaiting me. My dear roommate, who unfortunately witnessed my mess, had cleaned the entire place. She must have known how much I hate having a dirty home, and how I loathed not finding the time to clean the place these last two weeks, because she served me today in quite possibly the most practical and sacrificial way. You see, she woke up this morning with a migraine and no sleep. But, in her own laundry list of things to do, she found time to love me ever so well.
And I was humbled. So humbled I kind of felt sick. I don’t love you well enough to deserve this. How can I repay you? What can I give back to let you know how much I appreciate your service? Your sacrifice? Your work? Why did you beat me to this act? I should have loved you this well first.
And I realize now, that as Mumford and Sons sings, “That’s how this whole grace thing works.” My roommate loved me today, with agape love. She loved me with Jesus love. She loved me in a way that fit me perfectly. And, to try and somehow feel the need to competitively pay her back would probably make a mockery of her service at best, and wound her at worst.
How often do I do that with God? He has given me so many blessings. Undoubtedly, today’s biggest blessing was my roommate’s gift of cleanliness. And I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve for my angry, scary, violent 7am rant to produce such a sweet afternoon gift. It seems fitting, for my last Lent blog, to be one that so clearly acknowledges my own weakness, my own sin, my own undeserving-ness, my own humanity, and therefore so clearly highlights God’s great love and magnanimity.
And so, my heartfelt response of love to my roommate was to march down and get her a Starbucks card to let her know how appreciated she is.
But, my heartfelt response to God, for his undeserved grace was simply this poem/song:
Let me suck out all the marrow of the goodness of Life,
Let me drink to the last, the dregs of the cup of Your kindness.
Fatten my heart with your sweet Faithfulness,
So that when hunger and starvation strike again,
I have stored for myself a pantry of Your remembered Delights.