There are four sets of footprints. They stretch cross the closed porch. Through the kitchen. Over the dining room hardwoods. Three sets of boy prints and one set of paws.
It must be March.
“Hey, Mom, did we do that?” Samuel asks as he comes around the corner. I raise my eyebrows. Sam smiles and gets the wash bucket from under the cupboard in the laundry room.
We fill it with water and the frothy bubbles rise.
Boys and mud. It’s just like this. I’m not sure about girls, but muddy puddles and boyhood are deeply entwined.
As Sam and I take the bucket to the dining room, I remember one summer day when the little boys dug a hole in the side yard. They pushed their shovels deep. Turned over earth. Made a trench.
They filled the whole thing with sun-warmed water from the hose and then jumped right in. When they came to the back door they were covered. Encrusted. They were dirty, smiling boys behind smears and smudges and masks of mud.
I’d carried this same bucket of water to the patio. I plunged little brown arms into the warm suds. I rinsed Mississippi valley mud from the crescents of small knuckles and scrubbed fingers until we found nailbeds pink as shells.
They put their feet in the wate,r and I washed where earth had webbed their toes. I dabbed mud from dirty faces while eyes squinted in the sun. I rinsed soil from hair soft as silk.
And under the summer sky they came clean.
It’s the same thing that Jesus does for me.
He sees my grit. He sees my grime. And He washes me with mercy ‘til the water runs clean with grace.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7, NLT)
Oh, if not for the perfectly cleansing, soul-saving blood of Jesus!
Thank you, Lord…
Samuel and I dip our sponges in the water, and we set about cleaning the floor. We’re side-by-side. We’re kneeling.
And I think about how beautiful it is to come clean.