Our Poo Art struggles continue.
The victim this time (or should I say the canvas?) was the living room couch and the Oriental rug. The artist herself was covered from head to toe when I discovered her, so after giving her a bath (hosing her down, scrubbing her head), and cleaning the bathroom (b/c everything she touched was soiled), I set out to see what could be done about the couch and rug.
For some reason, the ongoing Poo Art episodes are very upsetting for the husband and me. It is not necessarily the fact that our property is being destroyed or that we have to repeatedly clean it up (although this is certainly bad enough), it’s the fact that our beautiful little girl seems oblivious to the messes she’s made. She does not seem to understand or care that she’s covered in filth.
This time as I cleaned I was determined not to get (too) upset, so I played music and sang as I cleaned. I decided it was time to purge (no pun intended). The rug must go. We bought it in Germany five years ago, before kids, but now it’s been pooped on, puked on, juice-spilled-on, banana-smushed-on, one too many times!
I know that not all of my friends who read this blog are Christians. My faith is the biggest part of me. And as I try to make sense of these struggles, I can only return again and again to the One who has been my faithful God for as long as I can remember. I’m always asking, ‘So Lord, what are you trying to show me or teach me in all this? How can I know how to live, how to respond, how to breathe in the face of daily disaster?’ With that said, I hope that even if you are not a Christian, you will continue reading.
While I was scrubbing the furniture , I thought of a verse in the Bible where David, contrite from the sins of adultery and murder, prays “Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean.” Ps. 57:7
I did not know exactly what hyssop was so I did some Google-ing and found out that it is a plant that was used in ritual sprinklings and is an analogy for cleansing. Today, hyssop oil is used for disinfecting, therapeutic purposes. In the Old Testament, hyssop was used to brush the blood of the Passover lamb over the Israelite doorposts. Hyssop was also used in the cleansing of a leper. Most significantly, when Jesus was dying on the cross, a stalk of hyssop was lifted to his lips to give him a drink:
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:28-30)
How symbolic, how God-like, that in the ultimate act of redemption and forgiveness of sin – Christ on the cross – hyssop was used as an emblem of cleansing and purification.
So my conversation with God went like this: What in the world do I need purged? I’m the innocent victim here faced with a lifetime of scrubbing poo!
Then the montage played: my arguments with the husband, my murmuring, my complaining, my jealousy, my lack of patience with people, blaming all of my poor behavior on the fact that I have a child with autism.
It hit me like a ton of bricks that the thoughts I had about my daughter really applied to me: I don’t even understand that I’m covered in filth.
Well, I had no hyssop to clean my couch. But I asked for a spiritual dose of hyssop to cleanse my soul… to purge away the dross… to prune the undesireable.
Every time I get angry because these circumstances don’t change – she still has autism, she’s still non-verbal, she’s still a Poo-Art painter,
I feel a swish-swish of the hyssop plant.
Every time I give in to my fears about her future – Who will care for her when I am gone? Entrust her to me. She is mine. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11 (NIV)
Every time I allow bitterness and resentment to invade my heart when the going gets rough. “Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Heb 12:15 (MSG)
Every time I doubt myself – God, clearly you picked the wrong parents! I picked you on purpose. “You can do all things through me who strengthens you.” Phil. 4:13
Cleaning me and the couch is a process. We’ve hired professional upholstery cleaners to handle the furniture. I had to chuckle because the upholstery care web site promises to apply a protector “to preserve the color, beauty and life of your upholstery.”
I imagine God is giving out the same kind of professional cleaning with the intention of preserving color, beauty and life. 8)
“…wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalms 51:7