My husband and I had spoken in different churches each week for months on end, but that Sunday my soul craved different fare. I hungered for my constant; for the stable, sure thing that has long ushered me through circumstances jagged, wearying, and soul searing. I needed to get into a position where I could find God and be renewed.
Besides, my floor was dirty. It seemed a fortunate collusion. I’ve found God’s hands often, swirling about beside mine in dirty washwater, and every so often we touch.
I shoved aside the table and flipped the chairs upside down on top of it, just like my mother used to. I rolled up the area rugs, stashed them in a bedroom, took the laundry baskets out of the bathroom and began.
Our linoleum at the time was white, mostly, except when it was grey. Full of dibbits, dents, scratches and grooves. A floor like that beckons dirt like carrion seduces flies. And it hadn’t been washed for months. I mean really washed.
Swiffas don’t thoroughly clean a floor. Neither do Bee Mops. I should know—I have both. They just push around the dirt, never genuinely deal with it. For dirt like mine, I needed something efficient.
I filled a bucket, got out a stiff scrubber and a cloth, and got down on my knees. In that posture I remained for several hours. Scrubbing. Praying. Singing.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty…My faith looks up to thee…
I watched that surface, trodden by so many beloved soiled soles, slowly come clean. As it did, God used his own scrubbing agent on a soul also scratched and dented, and much in need of cleansing. My own.
And the stereo played…
…Healin’ rain, is comin’ down. It’s comin’ nearer to this old town. It’s comin’ closer to the lost and found. Healin’ rain, it comes with fire, so let it fall and take us higher. Healin’ rain, I’m not afraid to be washed in heaven’s rain…
What happened during those hours on my knees was worth more than an entire calendar of Sundays.
After I scrubbed, washed, and dried that floor, I polished it. I polished myself all the way into the bathroom. Right up to the tub, where I ran a bath, stepped into the bubbles, then leaned out and polished the spot where I’d just stood.
I forgot something. A steamy bathroom isn’t optimal for rapid-drying a newly polished floor. I stayed in that tub a long while, surrounded by clean, inside and out. Stayed there until the floor dried. I relaxed, and nearly slept.
Washed in healin’ rain. Washed forever in Jesus’ name. Scrubbed bare, finally at ease. It’s the only position of grace.
The above ran in my weekly newspaper faith and life column (Sunny Side Up) in 2008. One of my all-time favorites.