Monday, November 29, 2010

Wash Behind Your Ears!

I stood in the shower this morning and, as I often do, found myself chuckling.  I flashed to a memory of my mother asking me if I had washed behind my ears.  Mom really had a thing about ensuring that the three of us kids were clean.  Really clean.  And who would've thought a girl could get so dirty behind her ears!  I mean, really? 

But, if you know me at all, you know that I have a just a touch of a rebellious nature.  The more she told me to wash behind my ears, the more I didn't.  I really couldn't imagine it was a problem.  I washed my hair - surely my ears and neck got clean.  Right?

Nope.  There is a distinct memory that I have of mom attacking my neck with cold cream - scrubbing until the dirt came off.  That was painful enough to stick with me and I began taking more care to ensure that that area behind my ears and my neck got at least a quick swoop of the washcloth.

The other thing that she always asked was if I had washed my hands after going to the bathroom.  Every, single freakin' time.  I'm not kidding every time.  And the funny thing is, I still hear her asking me that question.  So ... it continues!  And why was I so rebellious that I would turn on the water and not put my hands under there?  Oh ... yah.  Makes all the sense in the world.  Flat out rebellion.

You see, one of my greatest problems was that I didn't want to miss anything.  So, if I had to go to the bathroom, I was pretty well assured that something interesting would happen in those few minutes I spent away from the action.  Any more time spent washing and drying hands just left more time for the entire world to flip upside down without my being able to be a part of it.  But, when I realized that I was spending just as much time turning on the water and going through the motions of washing my hands, but not actually doing it, I realized that it was just rebellion and I wasn't doing anyone any good. 

But, I still find myself hesitating before walking out of a bathroom ... I hear mom's voice in my head as I turn to wash my hands.  Sometimes I want to walk out because I really don't want to miss what is happening out there in the world. 

For my New Testament class this week, we are working through James 4:13 - 5:6.  James 4:17 says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

That was one of Dad's favorite verses to preach about.  We're all very conscious of those sins of commission that we perform.  We're conscious of the sins that everyone else commits, too, aren't we!  But, those sins of omission - the things that we know we should do, but don't - are a little more subtle.

If we don't stand up for a friend, or we don't tell someone that we love them, if we don't reach beyond ourselves, if we don't give a little extra to someone in need ... no one really needs to know that we even considered doing those things.  That really doesn't count.

If I don't wash behind my ears, or wash my hands before leaving the bathroom ... who will really know?  Does it count?

I hear mom's voice in my head all the time with the silly little things.  And believe it or not, I hear God's voice in my head with the bigger things - those things that are a little more important than washing behind my ears.

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