You know those nooks and crannies in your house right? The ones that you wouldn't want anyone to see, because even though your home is beautifully decorated and mostly cleanish, when you have friends over to visit, they don't see that you have a darker side that often manifests itself in the horror of the hidden nook or cranny.
And you know what places I'm talking about right? Where dirt has collected or where you haven't quite gotten around to cleaning or organizing yet, because what's really the point when no one knows it's there but you anyway? You manage to hide them or disguise them and they go unseen and unknown and you can maintain your awesome reputation of having a well kept home or whatever it is that you want people to assume about you when they come over to your house.
Probably, if you knew someone were going to see your hidden places of filth, you would do something about it. The nasty nooks and crannies would get cleaned, because heaven forbid, someone could conclude that if you actually kept something that grimy in your house, what kind of housekeeper/homemaker/domestic-goddess/human being are you?!
But, there are some friendships that transcend the nooks and crannies. Some friends, the realest and dearest ones, know the nooks and crannies of your heart and your story and still want to grab lunch with you and ask you for recipe ideas and will still sit for hours and talk with you about life. And knowing that they will actually see the nooks and crannies of your home up close and personal is nothing - you know they won't shudder or even blink an eye at it.
(Real nook and cranny in my house. Ew.)
Such was the case last night. My oldest and dearest and best of friends came over after I had a very rough day. I spent most of it crying because reality had finally sunk in that my husband is in freaking North Dakota and I'm about to be done with working full-time and the thought of being a stay-at-home-mom is mildly terrifying. And then there's the fact that I'm almost 34 weeks pregnant and I'm all alone and I actually need a significant amount of help around the house until I'm no longer carrying a giant boy in my belly.
She did Tommy's laundry and washed my dishes and cleaned my counters and even gave Tommy a bath - all tasks that include the bending over thing that gets my back into a mess every time.
I felt awkward and helpless. But, I felt blessed and loved on too. I was reminded that love does things. It doesn't just offer to pray for you or drop you a line on Facebook. It's more than that.
It gives. It comes. It shows up. It cleans and washes and bends over and gets messy and doesn't tire of any of the doing because the very nature of love is action. This friend knows how to love well and her love for me over the years has done and given and served endlessly. She knows that love sees the nooks and crannies and is able to accept them and see past them because we are so much more than the nooks and crannies that we can sometimes allow to define us.
One of her text messages earlier in the day after I was finally done battling whether or not I wanted her to come over and accept her offer of love and help said, "Yay for you truly allowing others to see you messy and needy!"
I told her she was way more excited about this than I was, and I would have to celebrate that in retrospect. Because in the moment I felt like a dweeb (my actual word was pathetic) that I needed help with simple tasks around the house.
But love can only do when we let others in to see our need. When we let them into our mess and into the filthy nooks and crannies we want to hide and cover up and pretend don't exist. Only then can we know love and feel loved and be able to really accept it as it was intended to be given.
And last night I did just that. I let her see my messy tupperware cabinet and the nasty grime that has collected in the washroom where my laundry soap sits. And she saw my untidy bedroom and the pile of shoes that collect near the front door. At the end of the night when my counters were sparkling and my boy was bathed clean and I was resting in my recliner, I felt loved. I felt loved for how she helped me and I felt loved in spite of my nooks and crannies and all of the places where I am currently in need.
It was there that I was able to breathe. And to rest.