Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Through a Stranger's Eyes

Tonight, our new pastor is coming over for dinner for the first time. Any time we have guests, especially if this is the first time that a particular guest has been to our house, I find myself looking at my house through a stranger’s eyes. I scrub away the everyday dirt in the hallway that I don’t even notice most days. I wipe off the small handprints that I usually ignore around the edge of the coffee table. I hide away the messily-packed diaper bag in the closet. I try to make my house spotless and perfect for company. But of course, it’s never quite perfect. At least, it’s probably not perfect through a stranger’s eyes.

A stranger’s eyes see dirty fingerprints on the piano keys, but I see two budding pianists happily giving an impromptu concert.

A stranger’s eyes see couch cushions that are all askew, but I see the remains of a spaceship and a fort and a pirate ship built by a giggling adventurer.

A stranger’s eyes see cracks in the hallway tile, but I see all the times I’ve told the funny story about coming home to discover that our heavy glass chandelier had committed suicide.

A stranger’s eyes see chipped paint from the recliner scraping the wall, but I see my father-in-law sitting comfortably in his favorite chair happily snuggling his grandchildren.
A stranger’s eyes see a messily stacked pile of clean laundry on the stairs, but I see a small child struggling to fold some clothes as Mama’s helper.
A stranger’s eyes see a few toys under the sofa, but I see a child’s much-loved and much-missed treasures waiting to be discovered with squeals of joy.
A stranger’s eyes see drips of food on the floor, but I see the determined face of a little boy and a little girl struggling to master the art of using a spoon and fork.
When a stranger is coming to visit, I try to erase a few of those “imperfections.” But as for those I can’t or don't erase, hopefully by the end of the visit that stranger will no longer be a stranger but a friend, who sees all those imperfections - and their beauty - through my eyes.
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