With five kids and 3 dogs, poop was part of my daily life. While raising babies, I’d seen it on every surface in my home. The dogs were no different. Poop foot prints? Seen it. Used as an art medium? Of course. My reaction to these cleaning tasks ranged from tired irritation to real disgust. Of course, babies can’t be blamed. But, surely, the three year old should have known better than to “paint” with it, right?
People and pets get sick, I know. But, it’s still gotta get cleaned up.
Several years ago, I began a formation program that helped me see how God was at work in my life through the liturgy, the sacraments, prayer, and my daily experiences. During this formation, I learned to listen to Jesus and was getting better at discerning God’s will for me in the moment.
By now, my occasions for poop detail were waning. However, if it was a penitential Friday, chances were, I was going to clean up poop. Month after month, my husband and I would marvel at how consistent this experience was for me.
However, after one particularly explosive Friday poopfest, I broke down. My poor dog had gotten sick, a little bit here and a little bit there on every carpet in my home. It was by far, the worst, the most disgusting poop experience I’ve ever had to clean. I wept amidst the piles of mess and swam in self pity. I sobbed and complained to Jesus. I begged him to make it stop.
Our Jesus is always listening. He said, “This is my job for you. I want you to clean it up with a happy heart.” I laughed out loud! I’m sure I looked like a lunatic. I was ugly cry-laughing surrounded by poop. Seriously, I’m so glad no one saw me. Again, Jesus said, “This is what I’ve chosen for you to do right now. If you accept it, I’ll give you a gift.” Like a little kid that perks up with the promise of a treat for being obedient, I pulled myself together. I thanked Jesus for my work and, I cleaned up that awful mess.
After this experience, I began to see gifts hidden in these gross jobs. Gifts of surrender, acceptance, gratitude, humility, detachment and many others are hidden because they are always wrapped within struggle. The purifying fire of God’s love comes in the form of trials and sufferings and truly, these are His gifts to souls that seek Him.