We are a one-car family, and it’s an oldish hand-me-down sort of car we lovingly call Clarissa. Because this little two-door hatchback hauls all sorts of things–furniture, lumber, bales of hay, gardening equipment–and because it’s never been much of a priority for us to keep it cleaned up, Clarissa is somewhat dingy. Okay, “somewhat” doesn’t do it justice. She’s more gray than black these days, her dashboard is quite scratched up, and there is lots of hay strewn about in the backseat. There also appears to be quite a bit of pet hair back there, which is odd, since we’ve never had a pet. Regardless, she’s seen better days.
Today, however, I cleaned her up a little bit. Two grocery bags’ worth of garbage got pulled out from under her seats, the dash got sprayed down with disinfectant, and the floors and seats got vacuumed. An hour and a half and a serious lower back ache later, she’s quite improved.
You see, my stepdad is in town for a business meeting this week, and we’ll be picking him up to head out to dinner in a few days. He is a man who really cares about his cars, and he really cares for his cars. I love him dearly, but this is not something we have in common.
To be honest, the fact that my car used to belong to him makes me feel a little guilty.
Or at least it did today, when I looked at Clarissa through his eyes. I’m not sure when the last time was she was really cleaned out. And the last time she was taken to the carwash? Oy. That’s when I decided to grab the vacuum and the extension cord.
As I am not prone to this task, while I sat in the passenger seat and dirtied paper towel after paper towel with grime, I spent a lot of time thinking about why it mattered to me, after eight years, to get this darn car a little bit cleaner. It was a cold, dreary day after all. Certainly I had better things to do with my time.
And then I realized something.
When my mom comes in to town for a visit, I see my kitchen with her eyes. I am extra careful to wipe down the water drips around the sink and to wipe off the counters. It’s not that I don’t do these things otherwise, but I am extra diligent when she is here.
When my stepmom is here, I keep an eye on the bathroom sink and the dust bunnies on the hardwood floors.
Apparently, when people I care about come into my space, I try to see the space as they see it. Perhaps I am the only one who does this, but I like to think we all do.
When we know someone well, we know what is important to them. We know how to switch glasses and see our world through their eyes. It’s not about trying to live up to someone else’s standards so much as wanting to do as they would have done.
To see as they would see.
To do as they would do.
And that, my friends, is the moment I started to feel a little bit of conviction.
To see as He would see.
To do as He would do.
It takes a lot more work than just vacuuming out a car or wiping down a bathroom.