i happened upon a journal of mine yesterday. as i read some of the entries there was a flood of emotions that attended memories of events long gone. among those entries was the following:
i was washing pots tonite. so much crud baked onto the bottom of the skillet. stuff that wasn't cleaned off the first time. and so repeated use over the fire hardened the thin veneer of oil and grease into a coating that wouldn't simply rinse off. the metal scrubby: hard, sharp edges, scouring powder, lots of effort…and time. repeated circular motions over the same spot…and some, only some of it would come off. apparently forever amen a part of the pan. is it? would more time, more effort, more scrubbing and more sheer desire to restore the pan to its pristine, new condition yield its desired effect? maybe. but there's the spot on the wooden handle, forever blackened because it got too close to the fire. no amount of scrubbing will take that away. if the pan had feelings, the scrubbing would hurt, as layer after layer was slowly ground away…good surface is affected by the cleaning of the dirty part.
at times it seems my life is like that skillet. layer upon layer of crud, sins never fully dealt with, baked to a hard coating, marring the appearance and making any cleaning now a much more involved process…sigh. it all depends on the owner of the pot…do you want me clean? yes. grind me down, clean me off…make me shine. restore me.
a friend was present when i read this; he watched as old memories stirred, and grief rose, borne on the wings of failures from long ago. in his wisdom and in his discernment he reminded me of who i am in Christ, that i am a work in process, and that there is growth and change in me that others can see, even if i sometimes cannot. i thank God for that man, for his encouragement that transforms sorrow into peace, and for others like him who help me see that the prayer IS being answered; the Owner of this pot IS at work, scrubbing, grinding, polishing, relentless in his determination to restore and renew. one day...yes, one day...