Cleaning out kitchen cabinets. I am not one that has ever truly found this task as one that is cathartic, relaxing, or even fun. Some do. Those of you who do (holding thumb to ear and pinky to lips) call me. All kidding aside, it is that time. To get busy getting things in order around here. Our departure date has been tentatively set and there is much to do!
I made a deal with my hubby – whom we will refer to as “Senor Daddy”- that if he were to take care of three rather large items in our transition process, that I would take on the task of sorting, redistributing, packing and overall getting all house things done for our family of four humans, one dog, one fish, and sixteen chickens. Okay. So, I might have had a problem with feathered friend “acquisition”. But, they are so irresistible in their sweet, little fluffiness. And, eggs. We get eggs! Until they molt- which, love their hearts, they all are right now. Sigh. No eggs. Do Guatemalan chickens molt…hmmm?
Back to our “deal”. I found myself cleaning out those cabinets that for the past six years have held dishes that now have chips-every piece, mixing bowls-that belonged to my grandma, sippy cups-still had one in there, assorted coffee mugs, canning jars- oh, the canning jars, lids and bands, water bottles for karate, Tervis cups that the lids have long since disappeared, spices-glad I cleaned out that cabinet, and finally, the Tupperware cabinet. That cabinet has always served as a not-so-gentle reminder to stay on my toes. You never truly know what will be lurking behind door #2. Treachery, I tell you! It is almost like the plastic lids and bowls wait in great anticipation of flying out at the speed of light to greet whatever body part that had the misfortune of not moving fast enough. Usually, a forehead, face, or foot. No matter how you try to sort, organize, stack, or plead with the useful little jokers, the outcome is always the same.
Opening the door. Band aids. Rewashing. Restacking.
But, not this time. Strange enough. No trauma to any body part. All was quiet and orderly in that cabinet. I should have known that something was up. Much like when your children are too quiet. You know. Something is getting ready to go down. Who would have known that it was going to be the Tupperware that got me? That brought me to my knees right there in the middle of my kitchen, sobbing.
It was actually after I removed every rounded bowl and square container with extra lids- yet another mystery to ponder, later- that it occurred to me that these containers would not be getting a rewash by any hands in our home. New homes, hands, heads, and feet would be part of the life of these little favors once I put them in the “to go” box. Then, I looked around the very crowded, boxed up living and dining area. I looked at not stuff, but, at memories of little hands helping. Those little hands that have now grown larger than mine. Holidays past. Birthdays. Life that has been beautifully lived here.
Then, I turned and looked at that empty cabinet. Empty. And, then I broke on down to a puddle in the middle of the kitchen. Knees to the floor. Arms raised. Thank you, God! For not letting me go just through the motions of working out the “logistics” of this great calling. Not just “getting it done”. A reminder that there has been much accomplished here. There has been so much love given and received here. The value of this home and these things are no match to the value of the people that have made this life here such a treasure. Compassion and grace extended. Love poured out.
Thank you, God. For your love. For your patience. For your sacrifice. For Jesus.
It was in looking at the clutter and not being overwhelmed, but encouraged, then turning to that empty cabinet and feeling sorrow, that it became clear that our lives are like that crazy, out of control Tupperware cabinet. The doors fly open every day with surprises and there will always be an extra lid lurking around in there, but it is not empty. Life, like that Tupperware cabinet is unpredictable and often times, despite our best efforts, is messy. Sometimes we don’t move fast enough and get hit upside the head or smash a toe. Sometimes, covered in band aids, we wash and rewash, sort and resort. It is in that craziness, that living, that so much is done for the kingdom. For God’s glory. It is the image of an empty cabinet that hurts my heart. The image of an empty life. That hurts.
Now, I don’t think that we are called to stuff our “cabinets” so full that it is completely overwhelming. God will fill your “cabinets” with what He would have you hold. We are often guilty of adding our own extra lids in there. Lids with no bowl or specific purpose. We can clutter our cabinets- our lives – if we are not careful.
God knows what is in our “Tupperware cabinets” and it doesn’t surprise Him. Not even a little bit. We can trust Him. With ALL of who we are. With any circumstance. With every day. With every open door. After all, He already knows what is waiting for us behind it and He is waiting to walk with us through whatever pops out at us!