I faintly hear the doorbell as I'm upstairs, changing from work clothes to home clothes. Exhausted after another typical day, I can hardly wait to take my contacts out, put my glasses on, and throw my hair into a ponytail.
And sit down.
Then I vaguely remember Joel saying "....oh hey, my dad might be stopping by."
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see him. I love when Kenny visits, we always have a good time. Its just that from the second I heard that doorbell, I was instantly aware of my messy ponytail, my messy clothes, and my messy house.
Down the stairs I flew, opened the front door and invited him in.
"Hey Kenny! Don't mind all these shoes here in the entry way. Just step over them."
In my head, I pictured myself as a flight attendant on the airlines. To our left, you'll notice cereal bowls stacked in the sink. To our right? Fisher-Price has exploded in our living room.
"Granddaddy!" Olivia smiles.
"Hey, Dad." says Joel from the computer.
I shove things out of the way so Kenny can actually take a seat on the couch.
How long has it been since I've cleaned the downstairs bathroom? Man, I hope he doesn't need to use it. Is there even toilet paper in there?
I want to shout out "Kenny, I’m so sorry! This house is a mess! I promise I’m a good wife to your son and a good mother to your granddaughter. Things are just a little chaotic right now!"
Instead, I sheepishly say: "Please excuse our mess."
And then came my favorite part: Kenny paused and smiled at me. So sincerely! He reminded me so much of Joel when he chose his words carefully and lovingly. He said he hardly noticed the clutter. He said it actually made him glad - and reminded him of when all his children were little.
"Really," I asked. "Your house looked like this?"
"For years." And then his face turned a little more serious. "The only reason its clean now is because its just me."
I thought about that for a minute as Kenny and Joel started chatting. Olivia was putting together a puzzle. I fought the urge to start picking things up. Instead, I just sat.
My father-in-law feels welcome in my messy house. He is kind to me amidst my chaos. I honestly believe he doesn't even hold it against me! He knows we have a busy life; he wasn't coming over to check-in on the status of our cleanliness. He's not an inspector, he's my dad. And, lets just call a spade a spade here...He was coming over to see that precious curly haired granddaughter of his. I'm no fool.
As Joel and Kenny kept talking, my mind wandered. I thought about Jesus, and the fact that he feels welcome in my messy life. He is kind to me amidst my chaos. He does not hold it against me. He doesn't check-in on the state of my cleanliness. He is not an inspector. He simply comes (knocks) to spend time with me.
I'm learning to not be afraid of the doorbell.